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Macy's to break ground at Shops at Wiregrass
Wesley Chapel's gain won't be Tampa's loss, though. The University Mall store will stay.
By CHUIN-WEI YAP, Times Staff Writer
Published November 14, 2007
WESLEY CHAPEL - Macy's Inc. ended two years of speculation Tuesday when it announced that it has picked the $105-million Shops at Wiregrass for its eighth Tampa Bay area store.
Central Pasco's first Macy's has less than a year to get off the ground.
The store plans to open in October 2008, said Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski. Construction on the two-story store is expected to start in December.
The Wiregrass anchor will feature the full range of Macy's goods except furniture, Sluzewski said.
Officials Tuesday also killed industry rumors that the Wesley Chapel store opening would mean the end of the Macy's at University Mall in Tampa.
"This doesn't affect any other store," Sluzewski said. "That store is going to stay open."
In April 2005, JCPenney left University Mall to set up at Wiregrass, fueling speculation among market watchers that Macy's might do the same. Dillard's, an existing anchor at University Mall, announced a month later that it was also taking space at Wiregrass.
The Wiregrass mall developers, Cleveland's Forest City Enterprises and the Goodman Co., tightly guarded Macy's identity as the third anchor amid contract negotiations. Jim Richardson, Forest City's vice president, said the talks with all potential tenants began about two years ago.
The developers are still working on the rest of the 750,000-square-foot mall's lineup, but plans filed with Pasco County suggest the slate could include Barnes & Noble, Apple, Victoria's Secret and Banana Republic. Meanwhile, steel has risen at the site off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and State Road 56.
The Wiregrass mall is competing in central Pasco with the 1-million-square-foot Cypress Creek Town Center and the 800,000-square-foot Grove at Wesley Chapel.
Cypress Creek Town Center is scheduled for a fall 2008 launch, and leasing plans point to AMC Theaters, Circuit City, Books-A-Million, Kohl's and Linens 'n Things, among other anchors. The Grove opened last week with four anchor stores, and expects a Cobb Theatres multiplex to join in May 2008.
The Shops at Wiregrass, part of a 5,000-acre mixed-use development called Wiregrass, are scheduled to open in fall 2008. When it's built out, the mall is expected to feature about 60 stores and restaurants.
At 140,000 square feet, the Wiregrass Macy's is actually a middleweight in the retailer's suite of store sizes.
"Our stores range from 50,000 square feet to 2.2-million square feet, at Macy's Herald Square in New York," Sluzewski said.
He said the size of the Wiregrass Macy's is consistent with those for "lifestyle centers," the market term for the kind of outdoor malls that evoke pedestrian-friendly town centers.