6.15.17: Is the Mall at University Town Center the Last in Our Lifetime?

Class A mall developer Taubman Centers Inc. opened what might be the last newly constructed mall for a long time. The property, University Town Center, is an 862,000-square-foot mall that Taubman started in 2004, but construction was slowed by financial crisis and it finally opened in October 2015. The property is located in the affluent city of Sarasota, Florida.

The mall is anchored by Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s, one less anchor than the original design. Taubman expects the mall to be successful because it will be considered “Class A.” Class A malls contain higher end tenants and have remained successful in the era of Amazon and on-line shopping. Taubman asserts that the decline in Class B and C malls has helped Class A malls, as evidenced by increasing tenant sales at its malls to levels that significantly exceed sales at Class B and C malls.

Tenants at University Town Center include Michael Kors, Godiva, Apple and even a Tesla car showroom. In addition, the Capital Grille made its Sarasota debut in the mall. Taubman does not publish sales figures for individual malls, but said the sales per square foot at University Town Center is comparable with the average of $776 per square foot for its entire portfolio for the year ended in March.

Taubman does not have any more malls planned in the United States. “We have every expectation that not many malls are going to be built, but we didn’t expect this to be the last,” said Bill Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers.


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