What You Need To Know
- Developer Chuck Whittall bought the land the mall sits on
- Whittall wants to build an open-air lifestyle center on the property
- TBB Orlando has a long-term lease; Unicorp wants to evict the company
- BELOW: Read the lawsuit
Alex Ramos manages H&Q Jewelers inside the mall. He says he loves the location.
“We chose Fashion Square because we were born and raised here,” Ramos said.
But Ramos says it’s been sad to see stores close in recent years. There’s no longer a full food court, and anchor stores Sears and JCPenney are gone. A fence is now up over part of the property.
“Ever since that fence has been up, a lot of people think the mall is closed,” Ramos said.
Developer Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp National Developments, bought the land the mall sits on.
“We would like to see an open-air lifestyle center that would consist of a fitness club, a movie theater, some offices, apartments, restaurants,” Whittall said.
But Whittall says TBB Orlando, LLC has a long-term lease, and their offer to sell is too pricey.
“There’s nobody on the face of the earth that would pay what they want for it,” Whittall said.
Whittall’s company, Unicorp, is threatening to evict TBB Orlando from the property due to failure to maintain it.
“It’s just in shambles, the front of the building is torn down, the parking lot is a mess,” Whittall said.
TBB Orlando filed a lawsuit asking a judge to block that eviction, saying it is taking measures to resolve issues raised by a code enforcement notice.
Ramos says despite less foot traffic through the mall, they’re staying in business thanks to their loyal customers.
“Our returning customers – they love us, they write great reviews on us,” Ramos said.
He wishes the property dispute would end.
“I sure hope so, I do hope it does get resolved,” he said.
He believes when that does happen, the jewelry shop will be part of something better.
“I definitely believe with the turnaround coming in the future, I believe Fashion Square will be on the rise,” Ramos said.
Spectrum News 13 reached out to TBB Orlando through their attorney and by calling the mall’s management, but the company has not yet responded back.