GULF GATE MALL: SARASOTA, FL
Michelle Liggitt's Commentary
Posted January 14, 2008 (user submitted)
I remember watching this mall slowly die during my high school years. It was once anchored by Terry Shulmans (a discount drug store), a Marshall's (like TJ Maxx) and a Belk Lindsey. The Belk Lindsey eventually became just "Belk's." Other tenants included a TGI Fridays, Spec's Music, Baskin Robbins, a movie theater (sorry, can't remember the operator or the number of screens), and lots of little local shops. These included Opus (a goth's dream store, though very expensive -- this is where I bought my Doc Martens, *sniff*), a coin and stamp store, a big discount book store, the name of which I can no longer remember (it wasn't a chain), a tuxedo rental place, and a gift shop that was like half card shop and half Spencer's. I spent a lot of time in there as a kid. :) I know there were others as well, but I can't recall them all any more, and alas, I have no pictures. Who goes to a mall and takes pictures? I remember a Books-A Million moved in toward the end, and one of the larger spaces across the hall from them would be used some years by the local haunted house around Halloween. It was very sad to watch this mall decline, but I was nonetheless surprised when I heard it had been slated for demolition. There is a twist to this story, though. The anchor stores, which at the time of demolition were Marshall's, Stein-Mart (where Belk's had been) and Books-A-Million, were left standing. The rest of the mall was demolished around them, and then a new strip-type mall was built onto these remaining structures. I'm not sure how common this practice is, but it's the only time I've personally ever seen it done. The new strip mall is now a thriving hub of activity, and also includes a Michael's Arts and Crafts, a Publix Supermarket, an Old Navy, a Hooters, a Panera Bread and a Bed, Bath and Beyond. The name has been changed to Sarasota Pavilion.
Here's a little blurb about the demolition, when it was still just in the planning stages: