March 31, 2017
After a year of sitting empty, the Florence Square finally sees some action.
A year after Kmart closed its doors (March 2016), Academy Sports+Outdoors has entered the final stage of its plans. The plan to open in May. PetSmart is set to open in the fall.
According to officials, the stores are part of the area's $15.25 million redevelopment project, which is located along Cox Creek Parkway and Florence Boulevard.
Don Beck is a partner with the Shopping Center Group - the company responsible for leasing the properties in Florence Square. Beck said Kmart's closure has allowed for the area to expand. He said the group knew there was demand from some retailers. PetSmart and Academy have been looking, he said.
Beck said, "We're fortunate to secure them."
Academy Sports will take up 63,000-square feet of space while PetSmart has secured 18,500 square feet of space.
The shopping center is 241,000 square feet and is roughly 85% occupied with stores like the UPS Store, H&R Block, T.J. Maxx, Essex Bargain Hunt and Tuesday Morning. In the front is Bojangles' Famous Chickin' 'n Biscuits and Wells Fargo.
Mayor Steve Holt noted the center is doing well and will do better now with the addition of Academy and later PetSmart. He said the center is very well-placed in the market, and he was happy to see the Florence Square owners do something with the area.
Beck said he is working hard to find more tenants for the center, which was constructed in 1990. However, he only wants the best possible retailers and restaurants for the space. He said he's calling targeted people and receiving inquiries. Beck said he'd like to get a good mixture of tenants for the center - for the owners and the Florence residents.
He said junior anchors and small shops along with local services can still move into the center. Beck said the Florence Mall is in a prime location, which makes it an attractive shopping hub. He said over 25,000 vehicles drive through Cox Creek and Florence Boulevard every day.