University Mall

Coordinates: 28°3′26″N 82°26′4″W / 28.05722°N 82.43444°W / 28.05722; -82.43444

University Mall, previously University Square Mall, is located near the University of South Florida, just north of the city limits of Tampa on Fowler Avenue. It is also accessible from Busch Gardens and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Presently, the mall is anchored by Sears, Macy's, Dillard's, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, and K&G Fashion Superstore.

University Square Mall was officially dedicated August 15, 1974. The first anchor stores, Maas Brothers and Robinson's of Florida opened along with the mall. JCPenney came inline in October 1974. Sears, the last of the four original anchors, began business in September 1975. Burdines was added, as a fifth anchor, in 1983.

Robinson's of Florida was rebranded by Louisiana's Maison Blanche in 1988. This store, in turn, was rebranded as a Dillard's in 1991. Dillard's moved into a newly-built store, built north of the original one, in November 1995. This move was accompanied by a large-scale renovation and expansion of the shopping complex, whereby the vacated Dillard's was gutted and rebuilt as new inline stores, with an upper level food court. A 16-screen Regal Cinemas adjoined the new food court. These modifications were completed in August 1996.

Meanwhile, Burdines had closed in September 1991 and re-opened in the Maas Brothers store space in October 1991. This store became a Burdines-Macy's in January 2004 and a full-fledged Macy's in March 2005. The old Burdines housed a Montgomery Ward between March 1992 and February 2001. The space re-opened as a Burlington Coat Factory in October 2001.

Longtime anchor JCPenney closed effective October 1, 2005, as a smaller prototype store opened in nearby Wesley Chapel. Steve & Barry's took over the JCPenney spot in 2006. University Mall's tenant space is owned by a joint venture of Somera Capital Management and Rockwood Capital, who acquired the property in June 2007. General Growth Properties is a third-party managing agent.

In October 2008, the Dillard's location in the mall was changed from a standard retail location to a clearance center.

In January 2009, both Steve & Barry's and Starbucks closed their University Mall locations. The building that housed Steve & Barry's will eventually be demolished to make way for future retailers.

On April 16, 2009, the mall's manager, General Growth Properties, filled for Ch 11 Bankruptcy protection after failing to reach a deal with its creditors. Mall operations for the meantime, would remain unaffected by this development.

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