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FEBRUARY 27, 2016

TAMPA BAY TRIBUNE

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Developer Rehabbing Hyde Park Village Looks to Enhance Retail Experience

Jerome Stockfisch explains the redevelopment plans of Hyde Park Village

TAMPA — With the very nature of the shopping experience changing, those who now run Hyde Park Village are meeting the new retail challenges head-on.

 

“The Internet has made pure consumption of goods much easier,” said Samantha David, an executive at Boston-based WS Development, which bought the unique South Tampa collection of urban shops in 2013. “If there’s anything I want, I could be sitting in my chair at 6 p.m., and it will be there the next day.

 

“(Shoppers) want something that’s going to make their lives better. That’s why so much of what we do isn’t about shopping, and that’s why we don’t call it a ‘shopping center.’ It needs to be a richer experience. It needs to be something that people will get excited about. That’s what we spend all our time and energy on.”

 

And that’s why, as David recruits an eclectic blend of national and local shops and restaurants and fills out the once-struggling venue, visitors to Hyde Park might also see running clubs gathering for an evening run, followed by drinks, dinner and socializing. A “Puppy Love” party, with local dogs getting pampered and others offered for adoption. A butterfly garden launched with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes from St. John’s Episcopal School.

 

And pop-up stores, such as a local florist with a five-day residency the week of Valentine’s Day. A monthly fresh market and yoga classes in the Village Circle. A holiday tree-lighting ceremony.

 

There are murals from local artists and new landscaping.

 

“We want to be the place where the kids can grow up, where parents can meet, a very community- oriented, community-focused site with something for everybody,” said Gabby Soriano, the village’s local publicist.

 

That focus appears to be succeeding.

 

Hyde Park Village, a seven-block group of structures surrounding Swann, South Dakota and South Snow avenues in the historic neighborhood and district of the same name, was seen as a gem when it was built in 1985. It incorporated some brick structures that stretched back to 1905.

 

But where the original builder saw a mix of residential and retail structures, subsequent owners focused on condominium development in red-hot South Tampa. The contentious rezoning process, the dropoff in the market with the recession and the opening of the high-end International Plaza led to vacancies and departures, including those of the tony Talbots, Ann Taylor, Jacobson’s and Williams- Sonoma stores.

 

David said she saw the village’s potential on her first visit.

 

“I had heard about the project, I had heard that it had really come upon hard times. I went to see it, and I thought it was truly a magical place. A lovely, lovely village.”

 

She saw joggers, families, bicyclists, dogs. “It became very clear to me that this would be a community that would support what we were doing,” she said.

 

She worked with local brands that could help boost the village’s community feel, including local favorite Buddy Brew Coffee, with its stated passion to “Brew Good and Do Good.” She tapped a “very selective” list of national brands such as Sur La Table, which offers high-end kitchen equipment but also provides a full slate of cooking classes.

 

In the coming months, look for the openings of legendary burger joint Goody Goody, along with Chef Chris Ponte’s On Swann; jeweler Kendra Scott; menswear supplier London Phillips; the Meat Market steakhouse; the Shade Store, offering high-end blinds and shades; Suitsupply men’s formal wear; and Vineyard Vines, a self-described preppy clothing store.

 

Last week, Tampa-based clothing and lifestyle brand Salt Pines announced it will be expanding to bigger space in the village.

 

The village’s brick facades are getting an overhaul, with a whitewashed and steel beam industrial look, and a parcel between Snow and South Dakota avenues is about to be razed and rebuilt with added retail space.

 

WS Development is working with the city on a new road scheme that will allow some street parking.

 

The new openings will result in 48 of the village’s 54 retail sites being occupied.

 

“I think they’re definitely on the right track,” said David Conn, an executive vice president and southeast director of CBRE’s Retailer Services Group, who has observed the Tampa Bay retail real estate market for decades. “The economy is better now, you have a long-term owner that’s very committed to the project and I think it’s going to be a crown jewel for Tampa again.”

 

Katie Gagnon concurs. She bought the Blue Moon Trading Co. in South Tampa in 2004 and relocated to Hyde Park Village last year.

 

“I was thrilled when I saw all of the changes that were taking place,” Gagnon said.

 

The village’s strategists are “creating a culture,” she said. “And we feel very fortunate that we fit into that culture.”

 

jstockfisch@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7834

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