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by Charles Schelle

Sarasota, FL – The first enclosed mall to be built in the nation since 2006 is drawing retailers with panache — Apple, Camicissima Milano, kate spade, Calypso St. Barth, Omega, Willams-Sonoma — and anticipation is building for opening day, so much so that tickets are selling for a pre-opening celebration.

The hoopla over the Mall at University Town Center is not surprising given the dearth of such shopping here. There’s never been one place for families and tourists to get the kind of mix of retailers the mall will bring: destination shops, teen favorites and big departments stores.

That kind of shopping has been spread across the region, with the destination shops like Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama at St. Armands Circle, and teen favorites at various malls in Sarasota, Bradenton and Ellenton, while department stores are split between the Westfield malls in Sarasota and the aging and largely vacant DeSoto Square mall in Bradenton.

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