Make us your home page

After rough times, talk of optimism by Florida shopping center leaders

COMING TO YBOR: A 7-Eleven is scheduled to open Friday on Seventh Avenue, across from Centro Ybor.


COMING TO YBOR: A 7-Eleven is scheduled to open Friday on Seventh Avenue, across from Centro Ybor.

ORLANDO — After a long, hard climb out of the recession, Florida shopping center officials are seeing better times ahead.

The state's growing population, stronger consumer spending and tourism have helped boost demand for retail space this year, said Abigail Rosenbaum, a senior economist for CBRE, a commercial real estate company. More than anything else, consumer confidence will have the most impact on retail in the next two years.

Speaking at the 2014 International Council of Shopping Centers Florida conference Monday in Orlando, Rosenbaum said this year will be the first that rent prices have gone up since the recession. More retail centers are under construction or renovation, and vacancy rates are down. Despite challenges among retailers, some are expanding and experimenting with new concepts.

Fueling much of that growth are aging baby boomers. By 2030, the population of people ages 65 to 84 is expected to increase by 2.2 million Florida, many of them retirees from the North.

CBRE's report said baby boomers tend to spend more on education, their adult children and mortgage debt and less on entertainment and consumable items than the previous generation. And while those boomers will spend less money per person, their overall spending will go up because there will be more of them.

That's good news for retailers and shopping centers hoping to attract them.

A 7-Eleven convenience store is opening Friday in Ybor City, the latest of only a few national retailers to claim a spot in the historic district. It's taking over the long-vacant La Ultramar Jewelers building at 1535 E Seventh Ave. across from Centro Ybor.

The store will be the first in Florida to have a standup counter area where customers can people watch along Seventh while sipping a Slurpee. Corporate folks smartly figured the views at 2 a.m. will be interesting.

The chain worked closely with the neighborhood to ensure the store blended with the former cigarmaking hub now dominated by bars, restaurants and tattoo parlors. The front door was moved from along Seventh to the corner of Seventh and 15th Street, as it was decades ago, and the signage excludes the traditional loud orange, red and green stripes, said Grant Distel, a regional development director for 7-Eleven.

At 2,400 square feet, the store will be slightly smaller than most 7-Elevens and, based on its street-front location, won't have gas pumps. It will sell all the typical convenience store products — beer, cigarettes and snacks — but will also carry a large selection of prepared foods for visitors and locals living in the area.

Yet another breakfast cafe is looking to expand in the Tampa Bay area.

Headquartered in Panama City, Another Broken Egg Cafe plans to open six area locations in the next two years, including the first at 2554 N McMullen-Booth Road north of Enterprise Road in Clearwater. Others are in the works for Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater Beach.

The chain was founded in 1996 in Old Mandeville, La., in a country cottage, and has grown to about 40 restaurants in 13 states. It serves breakfast and lunch and has a full-service bar.

Another Broken Egg Cafe is the latest daytime cafe seeking to enter the local breakfast market, a niche restaurant owners say is underserved. Also coming to the area are Keke's Breakfast Cafe and Toast Cafe.

Contact Susan Thurston at or (813) 225-3110. Follow @susan_thurston.

After rough times, talk of optimism by Florida shopping center leaders 08/25/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]