SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Oviedo Mall is surging forward with its redevelopment plans to bring back business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project has faced some hurdles, but General Manager and Development Director Kevin Hipes said a multimillion-dollar transformation will take place over a few years.

What You Need To Know

  • Oviedo Mall is transitioning into a mixed-use development

  • The $100 million project is expected to be completed in about five years

  • The property had been struggling for years as only a shopping area

  • Apartments and entertainment and restaurant venues are being added 

The old Sears is now being used as a coronavirus vaccination site, which Hipes said is helping bring in more shoppers.

The old Macys is awaiting a major facelift.

"This is a diamond in the rough," he said.

Hipes is transforming the 92-acre property into a mixed-use space, with 250 luxury apartments in the Old Macys spot, and 175 apartments for people who are at least 55 years old, with a 124-room hotel, and entertainment and restaurant options.

"In this location, you don't have to worry about it creating traffic,” Hipes said. “Nobody is going to commute from here to Chuluota. From here, they're going to Orlando or Lake Mary."

The mixed-use option is the best way to go for the mall, which had been struggling with sales for years before the pandemic, he said.

"Work, eat, sleep, play all in one place, that's what mixed use is, and the small malls around the country that are in good locations like this one will become very successful as mixed-use projects," he said.

Behavior analyst Jennifer Beye, who has been coming to the mall for two decades with her special-needs clients, said she loves the plan for new entertainment options.

"Everybody is really nice. I know some of the shop owners have special- need kids, and it's not very populated right now for COVID, so it's a little safer environment to work with them," Beye said.

The mall is taking a huge hit with Regal's 100,000 square feet of theaters still closed during the pandemic.

But after years of struggles, a new future is emerging, Hipes said. 

"I'm not some millionaire. I'm a developer, but I live in this community, I want what's best for what happens to this community here," he said.

The entire project is set to cost more than $100 million. With delays resulting from the COVID pandemic, it could be finished in the next five years or so, he said.