Makeover of struggling mall to pick up steam



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A struggling shopping mall in the heart of Orange County's tourist district may finally get the makeover developers promised.

The Festival Bay Mall on International Drive is known for its anchor stores, like Bass Pro Shops and Ron Jon Surf Shop, but little else.

Now, developers are going to start demolishing the place within the next month.

For many shoppers the Festival Bay Mall is like a ghost town.

"It's surprising that it's this quiet," one shopper said.

"There's no life in it," said another shopper.

On the outside of the mall construction continues on a project that was supposed to be finished months ago.

"We're all frustrated," said Mueen Patankar, manager of Fuddruckers restaurant. "We don't get a straight answer."

Fuddruckers is one of the few anchor businesses open during the $70 million mall makeover. Patankar said his profits have taken a 20 percent hit.

"It's impacting the business a lot. If guests want to eat (they are) asking, 'Why are we walking through all this construction?'" he said.

The developer told Channel 9's Kristyn Caddell that demolition on the inside will start within the next 30 days.

The new mall will be the largest open bazaar in Florida, featuring unique food and merchandise, a bowling alley and skate park.

"We want to see this mall done as soon as possible," said Patankar.

The developer said the delays came because of a change in design but should be ready this summer.