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back October 27th 2020 back

Inside the retail strategy at Westshore Marina District, where construction halted during the pandemic (New renderings)

The retail portion of the Westshore Marina District is full speed ahead — even after stopping construction from April through July at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to halt construction within the district was made “out of an extreme abundance of caution,” said Britney Mroczkowski, vice president of retail development for Fort Lauderdale-based BTI Partners, the developer of the district.

The Westshore Marina District spans 52 acres just south of the intersection of Westshore and Gandy boulevards. It includes luxury condominiums, townhouses and two rental communities.

Every retailer that signed a lease in Marina Landings — the 23,962-square-foot retail center within the district — before the pandemic is still moving forward with their plans, Mroczkowski said.

“Honestly it was a blessing in disguise,” she said. “There are so many more people living here now than when we anticipated opening.”

Now, BTI anticipates turning over shells to tenants in early December; some with
simpler buildouts, like Sand Surf Co., could open as early as January. Mroczkowski said she is close to signing a deal with a restaurant operator that she declined to identify and has an additional 4,000-square-foot restaurant spot left. There are also four retail storefronts, ranging from 1,250 to 1,625 square feet.

“I personally would love to see a fitness concept, even if it’s personal training or yoga or smaller group classes,” Mroczkowski said.

Other tenants that have already been announced include Duckweed Urban Market, Cru Cellars, a nail spa and hair salon, and a California juice bar and coffee shop. The partners behind The Getaway are still moving forward with waterfront restaurant on the property, too.

Marina Landings is built to be a neighborhood shopping center — a core tenet of BTI’s vision for the property is the creation of an urban, walkable district. But the tenants at Marina Landings also have to have mass appeal, Mroczkowski said, because they serve the surrounding neighborhood as well as visitors coming to the district’s restaurants.The pandemic has shifted even more retail spending online, but BTI is striving to put together a mix of restaurants and retailers that command in-person spending, even in a post-pandemic world.

“This is a destination,” Mroczkowski said. “It’s not just for the residents who live in the district.”