Orlando developer wants to tear down the Fashion Square Mall after buying land for $23 million


  • Photo courtesy of Miosotis Jade via Creative Commons
Orlando developer Chuck Whittall wants to tear down the Orlando Fashion Square Mall if his agreement to buy the land underneath it for $23 million goes through.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that while the Unicorp National Developments president has a contract for the 46 acres, Whittall still has to broker a deal for the mall with its owner, Bancorp Inc. The local developer would also have to pull off negotiating individual deals for the real estate underneath anchor stores Macy's, Dillard's Clearance Center and JCPenney, which have 20- to 50-year leases on the property.

Unicorp, whose work includes the Icon Orlando 360, has a $1 billion plan to demolish the mall and redevelop it into a new commercial hub called "Orlando Fashion Square," according to the Orlando Business Journal. OBJ reports plans include mid-rise and high-rise apartments; a hotel; retail and restaurant space that could host a bowling alley, theater, indoor karting and an arcade; office space; and a parking garage.

Whittall's plans would also have to take into account the active tenants within the dying Fashion Square Mall. Owen Beitsch, a senior director at the engineering firm GAI Consultants, previously told Orlando Weekly that a landlord can't "actively and purposely" neglect a mall tenant by law.

"[The landlord] is free to move you, typically, inside the space and into another," Beitsch said. "So what that would mean is that certain parts of the mall could be mothballed as more active parts of the mall are kept open and engaged. But in effect what you're saying is you do have to mothball part of the facility, and you can't interrupt, at least legally, near the ongoing operations of the tenants you have."

Whittall told the Sentinel that he would like to incorporate tenants that are "doing well" into the new development.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.