The Shops at Wiregrass is freshening up its retail lineup, and looking ahead to a spring 2018 opening for an adjoining retail center.
For now, the new shopping center is identified as the “connector site.”
New shops, restaurants, a grocery store and movie theater are planned.
Shoppers will have walkways to allow easy access into and out of both sites.
“We want to blend and separate it, but create its own identity at the same time,” said Greg Lenners, general manager at the Wiregrass shops.
Developers are awaiting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but Lenners said the anticipated opening will be in the spring of 2018.
He spoke to about 30 people at a luncheon on June 23 sponsored by The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has economic development briefings, with invited guest speakers on the last Thursday of each month.
Forest City Enterprises, the developers of The Shops at Wiregrass, and NRP Group are partnering on the expansion adjacent to The Shops at Wiregrass.
About 250 upscale apartments are planned, as well as about 120,000 square feet of retail, Lenners said.
A 30,000-square-foot grocery and a 35,000-square-foot movie house will be built. “The idea is a dinner-type theater,” said Lenners.
Shops and restaurants could fill in the remaining 55,000 square feet of commercial space.
Lenners also gave a rundown on recent store openings at Wiregrass.
VOM FASS Oils Vinegars Spirits, which opened last week, is the newest retailer and joins other new additions: Rocket Fizz, Lola Perfume, Soleciety Sneaker Boutique and 3D Musketeers.
VisionWorks is slated for a fall opening. Vitamin Shoppe could open by the end of August. And, Irish 31 Pub & Eatery, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Avalon Spa also are expected to open in coming months.
But, Lenners shot down rumors of a Cheesecake Factory.
At least in the near future.
Chains such as Cheesecake or P.F. Chang’s count on large lunch crowds, and the area falls a little short on that, Lenners said.
“You have a commuter demographic here so our lunch traffic goes down,” he said. “We’ll get there.”
As an example, Lenners said about 1,200 houses are under construction near The Shops at Wiregrass. Communities such as Estancia and The Ridge are adding to the local population and signaling continued growth in the area.
“We’re literally right on the 50-yard line,” Lenners said.
Published June 29, 2016