Make us your home page

Pasco's Gulf View Square mall put up for sale

PORT RICHEY — Simon Property Group has put long-struggling Gulf View Square mall up for sale in a move to purge marginally performing properties from its portfolio.

The move is a clear sign that Simon, the world's biggest mall owner, has given up trying to turn around west Pasco's largest shopping center.

While it's possible that Simon could sell to an institutional investor and be paid to continue managing and leasing the property, the company historically has preferred to be both owner and operator.

The Indianapolis-based mall giant, which values the 61-acre property at $74.1 million, is packaging Gulf View for sale on its own or with Boynton Beach Mall and other malls in Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.

With a combined book value of $350 million, the four properties could be one of the biggest post recession retail real estate deals. Real Estate Alert's Deal Database lists only four sales exceeding $100 million, led by Simon's $300 million purchase of controlling-interest in several California malls a year ago.

Les Morris, a company spokesman, said the company "does not comment on the potential disposition" of its real estate.

Local retail real estate agents think the Gulf View sale is a larger offshoot of spreading decline in a once prosperous, but now aging hub of U.S. 19 commercial activity in Pasco County. Some nearby chain restaurants have closed and an adjacent 300,000 square foot shopping center fell into receivership when its Target discount store closed. Average household income among the 122,000 people who live within 5 miles is a modest $45,000.

"It's as much a reflection of the local market," said David Conn, who heads the retail practice at CB Richard Ellis in Tampa. "Simon did not see the mall improving to a level it expects from its portfolio. On the plus side there will probably not be another regional mall ever built in west Pasco, so longer term this could become a catalyst if new owners are found to do a major renovation."

County Commissioner Ann Hildebrand said part of the county's long-term plan is to revitalize the U.S. 19 corridor, adding that the mall would be an "excellent candidate" for urban renewal.

"I think it would be ripe for a refurb," she said. "But I don't think you want to tear down that mall."

The mall, which lost many of its specialty chains years ago, is 18 percent vacant, a rate more than twice the national average of 7 percent for regional malls.

It generates annual sales of less than $300 a square foot. And many of its storefronts are occupied by local tenants on short term leases. The 31-year-old mall has not been remodeled since 1998.

Two of the mall's anchors, Dillard's and Macy's, own their stores, but JCPenney, TJMaxx and Best Buy are renters.

The news of a potential sale didn't surprise many merchants, who were hoping for a quicker recovery from the economic downturn.

"It seems to be a more laid back and walk slow kind of place with a lot of retirees," said Chris Elwell, who manages a kiosk that sells "full-body balance bands" made from volcanic ash.

"Since Spring Hill developed (with more retail), fewer people come this way to shop," said Linda Gucciardo, co-owner of Avanti Jewelers.

"This mall has a lot of work to do," added Estefania Urrea, who works at Noa Perfume Collections kiosk, adding that discount stores like TJMaxx "don't belong in a mall."

While strong malls remain a dominant player in retailing, the relentless growth of discount stores, big box chains and online shopping made weak malls obsolete. That's what doomed five enclosed malls in Pinellas and three in Hillsborough that closed in the past 20 years.

Shoppers agreed Gulf View needs a jolt.

"This is not as busy as it should be," said John Biederman, a regular Pasco winter visitor from New Jersey. "It would be sad to see it close."

"It could use more restaurants," said Hudson retiree Dawn Atkins.

"Maybe it isn't appealing to young people," said Paullette Roberts, a snowbird from Rockland County, New York. "I come here with a group of ladies. We do pretty well when we come here."

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Pasco's Gulf View Square mall put up for sale 04/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 10:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  2. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care


    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]

  3. Aramis Ayala defends stance against death penalty: 'I did what I believe was proper'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala on Wednesday defended her "absolute discretion" to never seek the death penalty in murder cases, as skeptical justices of the Florida Supreme Court bombarded her lawyer with sharp questions.

    Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala, far right, said she was "very well pleased" with her lawyer's case. "I violated no laws." [STEVE BOUSQUET | Times]
  4. Tampa Chamber of Commerce offers boost to black and Hispanic-owned businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — There's a disconnect in Hillsborough County's minority business community.

    Gaston Meredith of Gaston's Culinary Services listens to LaKendria Robinson, Director of Minority Business Accelerator & Economic Inclusion during an information session at the Robert W. Saunders Library in Tampa on Tuesday.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Wesley Chapel, Greater Pasco chambers of commerce merge


    LAND O'LAKES — Two chambers of commerce representing more than 850 business members from west Pasco to Wesley Chapel and New Tampa are merging into a single organization.

    Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hope Allen will lead the combined chambers of commerce announced Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named chamber will represent more than 850 businesses that currenlty are members of the Greater Pasco and Greater Wesley Chapel chambers.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]