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March 25, 2010

Oviedo Marketplace – Here to Stay



“We’re here to stay,” is the caption printed on a pin-on button worn by merchants in the Oviedo Marketplace Mall. Central Florida Matters continues the series — “Coping with the Economy in Seminole County” — with an interview with Jim Pridemore, one of the key principals involved in the trials and tribulations of a shopping mall in southeast Seminole County, Florida, called the Oviedo Marketplace Mall. In addition to being a merchant, Pridemore is the founding president of the 12-year old mall’s first ever merchants’ association formed in the summer of 2009. This feature questions Pridemore about two areas of interest – the role the merchant’s association intends to play in mall and the status of the mall now and in the future. Feature length – 25:16

(Produced, reported and edited by Stephen McKenney Steck)

From shopper acceptance to store turnover….from mall ownership to bankruptcy…and from facts to rumors…the Oviedo Marketplace mall’s trials have been numerous. The economy and the “great recession” have measurably added to the mall’s tribulations.

Such recent conditions have faced most businesses and most families — given the economic reality of the last several years. But in this case, the situation is a bit broader in its scope…for the mall plays a significant economic role in the City of Oviedo, in the surrounding area, and in the image the mall has in the minds of people in this part of Central Florida – that’s residents and the businesses the area wants to keep and the new businesses it wants to attract.

The mall accommodates 950,000 square feet of merchant leasing area – from such anchor tenants as Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and a 22-screen Regal Cinema to Victoria’s Secret, Barnes and Nobel bookstore and Master Cuts and from Pridemore’s Ashton Photography to Auntie Ann’s Pretzels. 5,700 outdoor parking spaces surround the mall.

The current occupancy rate is unofficially estimated by some to be at about 70% out of 90 store fronts. In business jargon, the mall is typed as single-level, enclosed and regional in its reach to a population of 400,000 people

In 2009, $610,000 of property tax revenue from the mall went directly to the City of Oviedo.

Presently, the mall is owned by General Growth Properties, a Chicago-based corporation which owns similar properties around the country including Altamonte Mall in Altamonte Springs, Florida, about 8-miles west of Oviedo.

General Growth Properties or GGP, is emerging from bankruptcy and, in that process, is being considered for purchase by Simon Property Group.

Though some claim the mall was troubled before GGP bought it, the recession — and allegedly picky mall customers, has not made their ownership and management of the mall any easier for GGP or the merchants.

Central Florida Matters invited GGP to participate in this feature. They declined, writing that they would not be able to accommodate the request. They did note that the mall “is open for business and it is business as usual for our department stores, theatre, and retailers.”

This feature relies solely on the perspective of Jim Pridemore – and his standing as a tenured mall merchant and as the inaugural president of the embryonic mall merchant’s association.

Extended Interview & Pictures

Click on the picture(s) to enlarge.
Jim Pridemore, owner - Ashton Photography, president - Oviedo Marketplace merchants' association (photo - CMF Public Media)
Jim Pridemore and Stephen McKenney Steck
Extended interview (1:14:25)



Jim Pridemore, owner - Ashton Photography and president - Oviedo Marketplace merchants' association with wife, Karen (photo - CMF Public Media Jim Pridemore, owner - Ashton Photography and president - Oviedo Marketplace merchants' association with wife, Karen (photo - CMF Public Media)

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