With three months left until opening, new mall nearly full

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Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:49 am

SARASOTA, Fla. -- 90 Days and counting until the new mall at University Town Center opens its doors.

The luxury mall is now about 90% leased, and the picture of what shoppers can expect is starting to take shape.

A steady flow of building permit applications are coming in as construction crews make steady progress in the effort to get things ready for Suncoast shoppers.

"There's still a lot of work going on and inside the shopping center. We're actually laying tile, majority of the tile is laid we're finishing out the courts," said Octavio Ortiz, the mall’s General Manager.

With about 90 days until the grand opening, the 880,000 square foot luxury retail attraction is quickly filling up as more well-known tenants file for building permits.

Among such tenants are stores such as Crate and Barrel, Apple, and Michael Kors.

Sarasota County has now released the mall’s two-story floor plan.

"Pretty soon here we'll have a lot of stores under construction. All the restaurants have been under construction for a while. They were some of the first spaces we turned over. The anchors are well under way under construction," Ortiz continued.

The three anchor stores, Saks, Macy’s and Dillards, look nearly completed with their entrances set in place. Interior lights are visible from the parking lot as crews work inside. The anxiously awaited Cheesecake Factory appears nearly complete as well, with its awning already erected.

Within the next month, mall officials say we'll start to see the exterior of the mall being finalized along with a peak in the number of contractors as tenants bring in their crews.

"You can see the landscaping is going on. You're going to see sod going in. You're going to see the rest of the parking field being finished out. You're going to see a lot more activity going on because spaces will be turned over to our tenants. They'll start construction on their spaces."

The mall officially opens October 16th, but there are a few opportunities to get a sneak peek on the inside before the doors even open.

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