[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
|Email story||Comment||Letter to the editor|
The open-air mall would be organized like a Main Street, with sidewalks.
By JAMES THORNER
Published November 5, 2004
Pasco County's newest shopping mall could offer much of what you would expect from a mall - a bookstore and cinema - and much of what you wouldn't - a grocery store and traffic circles.
In giving its assent to Cypress Creek Town Center on Thursday, the county's Development Review Committee caught a glimpse of the $200-million mall's tentative layout.
The Cleveland-based developer, the Richard E. Jacobs Group, proposes to build the open-air mall by 2007 on the southwest corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 56 in Land O'Lakes.
Jacobs' plans show a Main Street-style shopping district, anchored on each end by department stores of 100,000 and 110,000 square feet. To give the strip a traditional feel, customers could park and walk on sidewalks in front of the stores.
The vast majority of the parking, however, would sprawl in lots behind the mall. Two landscaped traffic circles would encourage browsing instead of speeding.
Developers are still immersed in their tenant search and have yet to identify specific stores. But the master plan presented Thursday showed a 25,000-square-foot bookstore, a 45,000-square-foot sporting goods retailer and a 35,000-square-foot grocery.
Supermarkets opened in some early malls of the 1960s and '70s but had fallen out of favor by the '80s. Customers disliked pushing or carrying perishables through an enclosed mall to reach their cars.
But the advent of open-air malls lets developers bunch a supermarket with other mall tenants without it being connected to those other tenants.
Jacobs hasn't named names, but Publix, based in Lakeland, has proposed groceries more or less every 3 miles in central Pasco. Existing Publix stores operate 3 miles to the east and west of the mall site.
At the heart of the mall is a village green-type pedestrian zone capped by a cluster of restaurants and a 76,000-square-foot cinema.
Although the mall has gotten the most press, a second part of Cypress Creek Town Center will occupy another tract north of SR 56. In developers' jargon, it's called a big-box power center, big boxes being large squarish stores such as Best Buy and Home Depot.
The master plan shows three major retailers in buildings of 161,220, 145,000 and 88,000 square feet. Sharing the space with those big boxes will be many banks, restaurants and smaller stores. None were identified by name.
On Thursday in the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey, the Development Review Committee unanimously affirmed developers' plans. The committee consists of County Administrator John Gallagher, his chief deputies and one school district official.
The high-priced engineering and legal team assembled by Robert "Hi" Sierra, whose family plans to sell the mall property to Jacobs, was visibly relieved.
"We've cleared the big one," mall lawyer Biff Craine said outside the meeting room.
It took three years of government scrutiny to reach this point. On Nov. 23, county commissioners are scheduled to cast the final and decisive vote on the 500-acre project.
[Last modified November 5, 2004, 01:26:06]