Move over International Plaza, Westfield Countryside Mall is attempting to build its reputation as a destination retail mecca.
The $12 million in renovations recently lured in a Cobb Theater, and its restaurant row features destination eateries like BJs Brewhouse, Grimaldi’s, Red Robin and Bar Louie.
A P.F. Chang’s is planned to open in February 2013, and rumor has it the county's first Whole Foods Market could come to the space as well.
Lauren Clark, spokeswoman with the mall, said that through enhancements like the Cobb movie theater and restaurant row, retailers are choosing the mall as their place for space.
Clark said the mall is seeing double-digit traffic increases in shoppers, and every available storefront is leased.
Apple retailer Peach Mac recently opened. So has a Champs Sports and Forever 21. An olive oil store is opening soon and a Mediterrean grill is coming to the food court.
Upgrades also included adding furniture, new carpet and tile throughout the mall.
“The goal with that renovation was to change it from a shopping destination to a place to have fun,” Clark said. “The mall has become the town hall of the area. It has become a meeting place and gathering place.”
Clearwater Mayor George N. Cretekos said the upgrades have benefited the area, creating a town hall effect for the shopping space.
“It’s truly become a community partner with the upgrades to the mall,” Cretekos said during the opening of the Courage to Remember Holocaust exhibit which was shown at the mall. “This is a destination.”
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