Oviedo Mall to add new apartments, hotel


This story was originally published in the fourth edition of The Lion’s Tale (February 7, 2020).

The Oviedo Mall, a gathering place where teens and families go to socialize and have a good time, has changed over the last couple of years. The mall has hit a rough patch having to compete with online marketers, and fewer people have been going to the mall. Business has been slowing down, but mall officials hope that with their newly announced renovations and additions, this new construction will boost sales and draw customers back in.

In early January, the Oviedo City Council approved plans to repurpose much of the mall space that has been vacant into apartments and hotels.

“The plan for the project is to add 250 regular apartments, 175 apartments for seniors and a 124-rooom hotel,” said Shelley Sloan, the marketing and business development director for the mall.

Developers who purchased the parcel of the mall that was once the store Macy’s plan to turn the vacant space into a residential area. These residential spaces, mall officials hope, will breath new life into the shopping center.

“The hope is that the hotel and apartments will bring additional traffic to the mall,” Sloan said.

Sloan added that in the Oviedo community there is currently a critical need for a hotel space, which could positively impact the mall’s business and attract potential new customers.

Kevin Hipes, the deputy general manager of the Oviedo Mall, said that he thinks that online retail is the biggest prepretrator in the mall’s recent financial difficulties.

“Money is the main reason for this new construction because Amazon is taking business from the retail,” Hipes said.

Despite the challenges faced by online competition, Hipes said he has high hopes for this project. To him, the mall is an iconic part of the community.

“It’s essential for Oviedo to want to spend time in a place that’s the [center] of Oviedo,” he said.