Despite a series of setbacks due to Hurricane Irma, the $ 60 million Titus Landing shopping center is edging closer to the vision for the complex.
Just last week, Bealls department store opened, marking a major milestone for the project that’s been under construction since 2015. Bealls is an anchor tenant.
Ulta Beauty, Rack Room Shoes, Tuesday Morning and Harley Davidson are expected to follow in the coming months.
And a real linchpin will be the opening of Epic Theaters in early 2018. Originally scheduled to open by Thanksgiving, Irma caused significant delays to the theater construction.
Bealls opted for a soft opening Friday to accommodate last-minute holiday shoppers.
“We just wanted to try and get open before Christmas,” said Karen Filips, director of marketing operations and media for Bealls, noting delays due to Irma.
A grand opening will take place Dec. 28, 29 and 30. The grand opening will include a ribbon cutting Dec. 28 and gift card giveaways to the first 200 guests each day. Dec. 29, in addition to the giveaway, one person will be selected to win a $ 1,000 shopping spree in the store. The catch? They will only be given three minutes to do it.
The new store is the fourth to open in Brevard County, with other locations planted in Melbourne, Indian Harbour Beach and Rockledge. Bealls department stores feature clothing, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and home goods. The 40,000 square-foot Titusville location has updated checkout stations, fitting rooms and a guest service desk. About 60 new jobs were created with the store’s opening, according to a release from the company.
Bealls marks the beginning of what is expected to be a flurry of openings in Titus Landing in 2018. Ulta Beauty, Tuesday Morning and Rack Room Shoes are slated to open in February and Epic Theatres should be open by the end of April, said Cliff Aiken, head of development for Exxcel Project Management, which is overseeing the project.
A Harley Davidson dealership on the northwest corner of the property should “be done no later than July,” he said. A building pad is already in place and construction should be completed in four to six weeks. The standalone building will house a 10,000-square-foot Harley Davidson retail store, along with a small sales center and service bay. The dealership is an extension of Space Coast Harley Davidson, which is in Palm Bay.
Other, smaller projects on the site should be complete by the end of 2018.
“Everything is rolling,” said Aiken.
That wasn’t always the case.
Titus Landing was not exempt from the wrath of Hurricane Irma, setting back schedules and damaging parts of the property, he said.
Lighting fixtures were torn down and power outages led to delays finishing the insides of various parcels.
Epic Theatres was particularly impacted by the storm, said Aiken.
Work is now back on track, he said, and “everything is coming together nicely.”
The openings are a long time coming for the center, which sits atop what used to be the dilapidated Miracle City Mall. The mall was demolished in 2015 and a $ 6.5 million grant incentive from the North Brevard Economic Development Zone has pushed the project forward. That money, however, will not be paid out until the project is complete and must be used toward infrastructure improvements.
Progress is being made, though. The new stores join a list of other open retailers and restaurants on the property, including Hobby Lobby, Pet Supermarket, Wayback Burgers, Firehouse Subs, Pizza@, Dunkin Donuts, BB&T Bank and Coldwell Banker, among others. A bocce ball court, grassy lawn and parts of the connector trail are also open.
Allen Goins, president of A.G. Development Group Inc., which is handling the leasing, said he is still “actively negotiating” with more potential tenants, including a number of restaurants.
“We’re doing fine with the leasing, over 90 percent leased for phase 1 and 85 percent for phase 2,” he said. “Just waiting for construction to finish up.”
He wasn’t able to make any announcements in regard to additional stores or restaurants committing to Titus Landing. Goins said he’s talked to every major restaurant you can think of — from Ale House to Olive Garden.
Goins reiterated he has a “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Restaurants will have to follow the market, he said. Once they see shoppers showing up to Titus Landing, they will want a piece of the pie. Dated census figures have harmed the project, not painting a complete picture of Titusville, which has bounced back from the woes of the recession.
For now, Goins looks forward to the opening of the movie theater which will shape the project into a “lifestyle center.”
“When we get phase 2 done everybody can really see what this is all about,” he said. “Right now it’s not a lifestyle center, but it won’t be a lifestyle center until that theater opens.”
An inaugural Playlinda Festival of the Arts will play into that lifestyle center concept Feb. 2-4 at Titus Landing. It is the first major event planned for the facility. It will feature art shows, interactive technology, live music, performances, seminars and independent films.
Contact reporter Jessica Saggio at JSaggio@floridatoday.com, 321-242-3664 or follow her on Twitter @JessicaJSaggio.