1. Business

Tampa University Mall demolition begins as part of Uptown project

The corridor that connects JCPenney to the existing mall to be torn down for pedestrian street and outside storefronts
Demolition has started on the University Mall in Tampa, what developers hope will become Tampa's "Uptown District." The corridor that connects the former JCPenney to the main artery of the mall will be demolished to make way for a walkable street with room for new retail and restaurants. The JCPenney building will be repurposed into a Class A office space, which developers RD Management hope to full with tech and research companies.
Published Feb. 19

TAMPA — The developers working to turn University Mall into a research village will begin demolition today as the first step of the Uptown District project.

The demolition gets underway in earnest around 11:30 a.m. on the corridor that connects the main strip of the existing mall to a long-abandoned JCPenney.

"Our local Tampa team is committed to successfully transforming the property from a traditional enclosed mall into a mixed-use, urban neighborhood development incorporating science and tech research and innovation," RD Management strategist Chris Bowen said in a statement.

[Read more about the future of the university mall.]

RD plans to turn the west side of the property between the former JCPenney and what remains of the original mall into a pedestrian-friendly street with new outdoor storefronts. The former JCPenney — two stories and 160,000-square-feet — will be renovated into an office and technology research building.

Health and fitness studios, a spruced-up lake and a new apartment complex are all part of the proposed plans for the 100-acre property's west side, according to Bowen. The project, as of now, calls for leaving the main part of the mall intact as a retail and workspace artery for the property.

RD bought the struggling mall in 2014 for $29.5 million. Since then, the company has announced plans to reuse parts of the existing structure for a bustling new city center that feeds off of the nearby University of South Florida campus.

Bowen has said that years down the line, he envisions the property becoming a hub for research with retail, food halls, dog parks and high-rises.

Contact Sara DiNatale at Follow @sara_dinatale.


  1. The Pinellas County Commission moved closer Tuesday to granting a total of $20.6 million to three museums: the Salvidor Dali Museum (top), the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center (bottom left), and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Photos courtesy of Pinellas County
    The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of History and Tampa Bay Watch are on track to receive bed tax dollars for expansions.
  2. West Port Colony apartments in St. Petersburg C2 Design Group Inc, Chris Stevens
    The complex off Fourth Street N is convenient to both Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.
  3. According to a forecast by PNC, business leaders feel sunny about the coming six months.
  4. Lithia Motors Inc. has acquired three dealerships from the Williams Automotive Group including Wesley Chapel Toyota near the Interstate 75 and State Road 54 interchange in Wesley Chapel. [Times (2007]
    Wesley Chapel Toyota, Wesley Chapel Honda and Tampa Honda dealerships change hands
  5. Tampa-based consumer data company Bridge is working to solve a specialty retailing problem that goes back to the end of Prohibition, and it’s getting help from venture capitalists at Florida Funders.
    Bridge specializes in providing detailed consumer data that helps producers of liquor, beer and wine target their advertising.
  6. Florida gas prices are down slightly over the week, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Pictured is a man filling up his car in 2017 in St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times  (2017)] SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Diminished demand and higher crude oil availability pushed pump prices lower.
  7. Cigar aficionado Kellan Webster, 48, from Conway, S.C., visits King Corona Cigars Bar and Cafe in Ybor City for the first time. The historic spot will now soon have a sister location at International Plaza. [Times (2017)] Tampa Bay Times
    The Ybor staple has been under new ownership since 2017.
  8. Joseph Erickson, 53, won a foreclosure auction for a condo at Happy Fiddler Condominiums in Indian Rocks Beach last year only to have a man claim he is the true owner of the property and should get the  $350,000 that Erickson has already paid for the condo. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    A Land O’ Lakes man had already spent money on renovations when he got two shocks about his new condo.
  9. Florida had 381,300 jobs in the manufacturing sector in September. [Times 2016]
    No matter how many times you hear that the country doesn’t make anything anymore, don’t believe it.
  10. The pool area at ICON Harbour Island RICHARD LUBRANT  |  Related Group
    ICON Harbour Island is adjacent to the $3 billion Water Street development.