SEMINOLE — It was just five years ago that plans for the Seminole City Center began to take shape.
North American Development Group purchased the former home of the Seminole Mall, a once flourishing shopping center that struggled to draw shoppers and retain retailers during its final years, at the end of 2012. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that NADG and its partner on the project, Primerica Group One, presented their vision for the property, located at the high-traffic intersection of 113th Street and Park Boulevard, to the Seminole City Council.
Today, the 424,000-square-foot mixed-use outdoor center is home to dozens of shops, full-service restaurants, quick-service eateries, Studio Movie Grill, upscale grocer Earth Fare, L.A. Fitness and more.
Last month, the project was honored at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s 27th annual Future of the Region Awards in the “Built environment” category. The awards honored 20 public and private sector winners for their achievements in resource planning and management throughout the region.
Jeff Preston, managing partner at NADG, said he’s proud of what his company has achieved at Seminole City Center.
“It’s the largest development in a number of years in this area,” he said. “It was high profile. [The Seminole Mall] was a dinosaur before we came in and transformed it….It’s been really received very well, not only by customers, but by the residents of Seminole and beyond, and tourists traveling considerable distances.”
In March, two of the center’s long-awaited tenants, Outback Steakhouse and Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery, a regional chain, opened their doors.
Preston knows shoppers have been eager for both restaurants to open since the first tenants moved into the Seminole City Center in 2017, but said they were worth the wait.
“Both are really great names. Both deals took a long time to get done and to get their spaces built out,” he said. “But they’re huge additions to the project and have a great draw.”
In December, The Wooden Rooster, a St. Petersburg-based casual café specializing in crepes, opened a second location at the Seminole City Center. Other restaurants that opened within the last year include Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q, Frutta Bowls, Freshii and Maple Street Biscuit Company. Meanwhile, The Joint Chiropractic opened in November.
Earlier this year, the Seminole City Center saw its first closure when Pollo Tropical shut its doors. While Preston called the closure “disappointing,” he said it was part of an abrupt move by Pollo Tropical’s corporate office to close a number of storefronts in Texas, Georgia and Florida.
Plans for the Lucky Dill to open a Seminole location, which were announced early on as plans for the shopping center came to light, also fell through, he said.
“That was a long saga,” Preston said. “We’re disappointed…It was a deal we tried very hard to make happen.”
He added that Seminole City Center is nearly at capacity.
“Every large space is leased and occupied,” he said.
Just two small units remain unoccupied, and there are deals in the works for them, though Preston can’t announce those potential tenants yet, he said. Other stores opening soon include Spectrum, NuSmile and American Family Care/Urgent Care.
“The center is in very high demand,” he said. “This is partially because of the way it looks, everything is brand new, and also because of the health of the market and success of our existing tenants.”