Many people have heard the old saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. When it comes to retail, it’s right on the money. This same adage goes for simple storefronts and larger shopping malls alike.
Shoppers these days need to be impressed to want to leave the comfort of their couch, where they have online retailers at their fingertips. A great example of a a mall creating that wow factor is The Mall at Millenia (commonly called The Millenia Mall or Millenia).
Although Orlando is not at a loss for shopping malls, with nearly 7.7 million square feet of total mall space, the area didn’t previously have a truly high-end shopping mall experience before Millenia.
This iconic shopping mecca outside of Orlando, Florida fills this gap as it is an upscale, contemporary, indoor shopping mall just off of Interstate 4 (exit 78) at Conroy Road near the northern end of International Drive. Opened in 2002, it has over 150 stores and is anchored by Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.
The Mall is owned by The Forbes Company (in partnership with Taubman Centers, Inc.), which also owns The Gardens Mall (located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and the larger Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan. The Somerset Collection was used as a model for the Mall at Millenia.
Like Somerset, the Mall at Millenia was designed by JPRA Architects and features award-winning lighting by Paul Gregory (Focus Lighting), glass elevators, and fountains. The 1.2 million square foot steel, concrete, water, wood, and stone mall contains some of the best luxury brands in the world.
The idea behind the design of the mall was simple: to create a contemporary property that would be a recognizable and classic Central Florida landmark to attract shoppers. The glassy grand entrances entice locals and tourists alike as focal points for their experience.
Working with the architects at JPRA and glass installer Harmon, Inc., W&W Glass professional designers and engineers provided Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass systems, which are a great solution for malls and other retail centers where owners want to create a highly-transparent entrance, elevator enclosure, atrium, canopy, or skylight.
For this project, the W&W team provided a clear monolithic 3/4″ tempered glass fin structure that had the ability to reach heights of up to fifty feet, allowing for two truly spectacular entrance lobbies that are awe-inspiring for patrons. The green monolithic tempered face glass panels were connected to the suspended fins with flush, countersunk Pilkington Planar™ 905 series fittings.
When the mall first opened there was not a lot of businesses in the surrounding area, but that has changed over the last decade. Apartments, condominiums, single family homes, and corporate offices now surround the mall. The mall was a major catalyst for local development and continues to spur on neighborhood growth while keeping pace with the current shopping trends in the market.