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Crossroads Mall sold, will be razed

A Clearwater company plans a $140-million mixed-use town center.

Published May 6, 2005

LARGO - Boulder Venture South LLC bought the struggling Crossroads Mall for $26-million Thursday and plans to demolish it to build a $140-million, 766,000-square-foot town center.

The Clearwater company plans to build 548,000 square feet of retail shops, 90,500 square feet of offices and 250 condominiums and apartments, said John Sabow, director of development.

There will be a parking garage with more than 200 spaces; a multistory big box store; a four-story, 120-room hotel; and a two-story, 16-screen movie theater with stadium seating.

The 36.5-acre mall at Roosevelt Boulevard and U.S. 19 will probably be razed by year's end, Sabow said.

While it's too early to start talking about potential tenants, the company envisions residences and offices built on top of small and medium retail shops.

By comparison, Clearwater Mall has 800,000 square feet of retail space, while BayWalk in St. Petersburg has 154,000.

The company also has a contract to purchase 3.9 acres of adjacent land and will close on the property in 90 days. But Sabow says plans for a mixed-use town center are on hold because of a proposed Pinch-A-Penny warehouse, chemical manufacturing and distribution facility next door.

The adjacent vacant property, which Boulder also bid on, is under contract to Cepcot Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pinch-A-Penny. The pool retailer wants to buy the 29-acre county land for $4.686-million and build its headquarters there. Sabow said the two projects are incompatible.

"We would have to redesign our entire project," Sabow said.

Boulder's proposal appears to be what Largo envisioned when it created its strategic plan for a town center at that intersection.

Built in 1984 by Clearwater car dealer J.O. Stone, the former Bay Area Outlet Mall never quite caught on. Five years ago, a Miami company bought the property, renamed it Crossroads Mall and tried to turn it around.

But the new mall has struggled with empty storefronts. The property went on the market.

Last year, plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter were scrapped after Wal-Mart's purchase of the mall fell through. The property is appraised for $14.5 million.

A handful of stores now remain: TJ Maxx, Bass Shoe Outlet, Vitamin World, Sports Outlet, Bealls Outlet, Van Heusen and Bon Worth Outlet.

"I'm still here and I'm open for business," said Susan Gills, store manager of Vitamin World, which will move to Tyrone Mall in August. While she has regular, loyal customers, others see the empty parking lot and assume the mall is closed.

The food court is closed. The fountain has no water but does have a sign saying "Keep Out." Plants have been ripped out of wooden planters. There are holes in the ceiling tile.

As water from Wednesday's thunderstorms drips into a plastic bin, Linda Boucher, store manager at Bon Worth Outlet, laughs.

She has to. The mall doesn't have security until 2 p.m. Derelicts have been taking baths in the restrooms. She can't even get a cup of coffee. And business has been lousy.

In the past two weeks, sales have been down 65 percent. After 15 years at Crossroads Mall, the store closes Tuesday and opens at Bayside Bridge Plaza in August.

"It's a shame to see it go," Boucher said.

Shannon Tan can be reached at or 445-4174.

[Last modified May 6, 2005, 00:38:16]

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