Starbucks Baxter Village via

(Part two of a two-part series about tenant choices/tenant mix in developments like Lakeside Village Center.)

When Winter Garden Village (Daniels Road, Winter Garden, FL), an open-air restaurant/retail shopping district opened, I spoke with a local shop owner about his desire to open a store in the Village.  He owns a local eatery, not a chain or franchise.  He was turned down because his brand only operates one other store.  In other words, Sembler, the developer, imposed leasing standards that primarily only permitted chains to operate in Winter Garden Village.

Celebration, Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and Baxter (Fort Mill, SC), to name a few, severely limited their tenant mix to include and allow unique locally-oriented opportunities.  Baxter’s downtown district, for example, includes a Beef O’Brady’s as a tenant in a multi-use multi-story building (not brand-iconic) and a Starbucks in a building that could be converted to any other type of small eatery because it looks to be an organic conversion from an old residence.  These villages and others boast a mix of office space, medical/dental, and unique mom-and-pop restaurants and stores.

I readily admit that I don’t know the leasing restrictions for Lakeside Village Center.  However, why do we so often leave our local market out of the tenant mix?  These one store mom-and-pop places are unique to our local market and boost our local entrepreneurial spirit.  Plus, they typically become the third places our communities so desperately need.  (What’s a third place?  Please read my review dated September 12, 2010 of Ray Oldenburg’s book The Great Good Place).

In Central Florida, in particular, we are surrounded by entrepreneurs of all kinds.  While it’s true that many new businesses lack the capital to lease space in a new upscale development, I would hope that these businesses are the ones we would hope to succeed and support along the way.

Author: Tory Parish

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