Mall Receives Big Makeover


photo by Google Maps

The southeastern part of the Oviedo mall will be transformed into apartment and hotel rooms.

When coming home from a long day of work or school the last thing you want to do is head to your nearest department store in search of a last minute birthday present for a loved one. In an era of online shopping where everything is available through a “buy with one click” button, traditional retail stores have had to come up with creative solutions to attract customers. The Oviedo mall, having felt the effects of online markets for some time, has had to take steps in order to create a space that people will get off their couch to come to. 

Originally the Oviedo Marketplace, the Oviedo mall was established in 1994. Since then Oviedo has seen many of its stores close including Bed Bath and Beyond, Footlocker, Sears and Macy’s. Competition from online and other local retailers has made it challenging for the mall. Malls can not provide the convenience and selection that online sources can, and that is hurting them. People who don’t like interaction with others prefer resources like Amazon or Etsy to shop without having to talk to other people.  

The mall hopes to improve through a new project run by a local developer Tricor. Oviedo City council recently approved for development of 250 apartments, 175 rooms for senior citizens and 124 hotel rooms in the old Macy’s parcel of the mall. While the decision is controversial in the community, many see it as an opportunity for the mall to grow. 

Over the past few years, online shopping has definitely affected traditional shopping. One thing Oviedo Mall has done to evolve in this new environment is to become more than just a shopping destination,” said marketing and business development director for the mall Shelly Sloan. “The addition will hopefully add traffic to the mall over time and may lead to additional mixed-use tenants coming to the property”.

The development is not the only thing the mall is doing to expand. Management has leased to entertainment based tenants to create a location where people can live, work, and play. District Eat and Play, Mad Science and Penguin Point Production were brought in to create a fun atmosphere that draws in customers for other restaurants and store fronts.    

Creating mixed-use malls is very trendy. Across the nation malls are being turned into swanky office complexes, gardens, libraries, and even hockey rinks. For example a run-down mall in Cleveland Ohio called the Galleria at Erieview turned its walkways into a fully functioning greenhouse. The Mayfield Mall in Mountain View California was turned into Google offices after it shut down in 2013. By establishing these medias within malls it can liven up a neighborhood and bring more foot traffic to store fronts in need.

Neighborhood feedback is important in the growth of the mall as well. Earlier this year the mall replaced the veteran childrens play area in the food court with a sandbox. This sandbox was not only messy, but charged an entrance fee that the traditional play area did not. Locals took to social media to express their concerns over the issue. The mall listened, and replaced the sandbox with another free childrens play area. Residents felt like they had a say in the decision, and felt connected to the mall. 

The mall wants to support the community. A majority of the vendors located in the mall are local businesses. Money spent in the facility goes back to the local economy and supports Oviedo citizens, and encourages new ventures. Businesses can be more specific to the community and provide better customer service.  

“The Oviedo Mall has always been very invested in the local community, and our goal is to improve overall experience for our residents,” said Sloan.  



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