Hyde Park Village in Tampa is thriving in a pandemic. How? ‘Or’ What?

TAMPA – Hyde Park Village has a moment.

Nestled in an area of ​​giant oak trees and attractive bungalows, the sprawling outdoor shopping mecca is heavily trafficked by pedestrians. People fill tables outside Forbici and Wine Exchange, flock to weekend farmers’ markets, and witness halls of candle-casting, indoor cycling, cake decorating and pottery painting .

Preppy clothier Brooks Brothers has closed its doors during the pandemic, along with a few others. But Sephora and Nike have opened their doors, with more new tenants to come. Sixty-three businesses make up six blocks of upscale boutiques, restaurants, winding sidewalks, green spaces and yes, a pink ATM that dispenses cupcakes 24 hours a day. There are no stations. vacant.

A cupcake dispenser at Sprinkles in Hyde Park Village. [ CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times ]

Over its 36 years, Hyde Park Village has seen its ups and downs – the first days neighbors compared it to a horror movie, the most gripping when hipsters filled Selena’s and Cactus Club, and those who were declining when the department stores left. Factory Shops of Hyde Park, has gone the local joke – right down to its big remake and current hustle and bustle, even as some other malls grapple with empty storefronts.

So why?

As online shopping has grown in popularity, “there’s nothing quite like walking down Swann Avenue and getting a Popsicle,” said Paul Rutledge, senior vice president of retail advisory services for global real estate company JLL. “People always want to go out, see fashion, touch Lululemon shorts. “

Maybe especially now.

“It’s nice to sit under these trees or walk on the sidewalk. It’s comforting, it’s reassuring, ”he said. “It’s like, yeah, that’s what I was doing.”

In the 1970s, developers set their sights on one of Tampa’s most charming neighborhoods, dubbing the project Old Hyde Park Village. Neighbors who feared its size and traffic would spoil Hyde Park’s historic community had another name, based on Canadian developer Amlea Inc .: The Amleaville Horror.

The Jacobson Department Store in Old Hyde Park Village.
The Jacobson Department Store in Old Hyde Park Village. [ DAVID KADLUBOWSKI | Tampa Bay Times ]

It opened in 1985 with the Jacobson’s department store. Over time, the center will sport Restoration Hardware, Williams Sonoma and Ralph Lauren, and will host Benetton, Banana Republic, Laura Ashley and Ann Taylor. Former Tampa mayor and town man Dick Greco lived in a condo above the shops in the 1990s. On weekends, Hyde Park was the place to be.

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A fashion shoot at the Old Hyde Park Village in Tampa in 1986.
A fashion shoot at the Old Hyde Park Village in Tampa in 1986. [ Times ]

But business cycles have taken their toll, and a heavy blow came when International Plaza opened across the city in 2001, rolling out the upscale names Nordstrom, Tiffany, and Neiman Marcus. The following year, Jacobson closed, a loss still lamented by locals. More tenants have left. A new owner has come and gone.

Jacobson's closed in Old Hyde Park Village in 2002.
Jacobson’s closed in Old Hyde Park Village in 2002. [ HELLE, KEN | Times (2002) ]

In 2013, Boston-based WS Development bought the village for $ 45 million with plans for a big remake. This included narrowing the main road, widening sidewalks, replacing dying oak trees, and adding on-street parking, benches, community tables, dog bag stations and a small library. free. “The pedestrian character of the project was a priority,” said Hyde Park Village General Manager Nicole Dee.

At that time, “old” had been deleted from the name. And forget about “shopping center”. This brand of mixed-use outdoor places – people on laptops, passing runners, walking dogs – is called a “lifestyle center”.

“You’re in a community,” said Rutledge, who worked with the original developers at Hyde Park in the early days of the project. “You are not in a mall.”

The boutiques – Bonobos, Kendra Scott, Anthropologie, Sur la Table – have remained upscale.

“WS has always done a great job of targeting its tenant mix based on their demographic,” said Jeff Green, retail analyst at Hoffman Strategy Group in Arizona. “They have been successful in attracting some of the best tenants in their category. “

And, he said, “the consumer is going to go where there are the fewest vacancies.”

Bonobos, an upscale menswear store, opened its first Tampa store in February in Hyde Park Village.
Bonobos, an upscale menswear store, opened its first Tampa store in February in Hyde Park Village. [ Courtesy of Bonobos ]

Retail insiders say food isn’t a small factor. The top performing centers have “some of the best-in-class foods, more chef-led brands, and fewer chain operators,” Green said. Hyde Park’s hangouts range from burgers and pies at the local Goody Goody to steak fries and share planks at chic On Swann. Coming soon: Bouzy en Champagne.

Goody Goody restaurant in Hyde Park Village, where patrons eat burgers and shakes.
Goody Goody restaurant in Hyde Park Village, where patrons eat burgers and shakes. [ CHERIE DIEZ | Tampa Bay Times ]

The dining option in lifestyle centers is “four times more powerful” for consumers than the retail option, said C. Britt Beemer, president and founder of the behavioral research firm. Charleston-based consumers, America’s Research Group.

BarTaco customers in Hyde Park Village.
BarTaco customers in Hyde Park Village.
[ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Chief Executive Officer Dee said during the coronavirus crisis a city initiative called Lift Up Local that has helped bars and restaurants increase outdoor seating was “huge” for Hyde Park.

“During the pandemic, these outdoor experiences had a nationwide benefit,” she said. “Outdoor shopping has overtaken indoor malls. “

Former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (who still misses Jacobson) said Hyde Park activity was another sign of Tampa’s current growth. “People want to be there,” she said.

“I think everyone’s waiting for Tampa to have their moment,” Dee said. “And we have it.”

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