Justine Griffin / Herald Tribune – Crate & Barrel fans, rejoice.
The national home furnishings retailer will open a store inside the Mall at University Town Center. Crate & Barrel is one of several highly anticipated bellwether tenants to file building permits with Sarasota County, confirming their spot inside the new luxury mall being built at Interstate 75 and University Parkway.
Like Apple, the Cheesecake Factory, Anthropologie and others, Crate & Barrel has mass appeal and supplies cachet to a community.
Though rumored to be opening in the Sarasota-Bradenton market for years, this will be the Illinois-based company’s first store in Southwest Florida. The brand is known for selling its line of upscale housewares, home accessories and furniture merchandise.
Like most other retailers, Crate & Barrel scaled back expansion plans significantly during the economic downturn. The chain has 170 stores in the U.S. and posted $1.3 billion in sales in 2012. This will be Crate & Barrel’s sixth store in Florida.
Other locations are in high-end malls such as Tampa’s International Plaza and the Mall at Millenia — both Taubman Centers properties. The company competes against stores like Pottery Barn for customers.
“To have a Crate & Barrel in Sarasota is really making a statement,” Green said.
The Mall at University Town Center, being developed by Taubman Centers and Manatee County-based Benderson Development, is the only enclosed mall expected to open in the country this year. The 880,000-square-foot retail center will debut on Oct. 16 with a mix of retail brands, though half of the property’s tenants will be new to the market.
Edward Biener, Omega watch boutique, J. Jill, and most recently — Brighton Collectibles — a chain store that sells handbags, jewelry, charms and eyewear, will also open new stores in the $315 million mall.