The Mall at University Town Center

    By Ginger Harris

    Attention, Sarasota, there’s a new mall in the works. Slated to open this October 16, The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota is a soon-to-be must-shop if you’re in the area.

    The two-level mall boasts 880,000 square feet of fashionista finds, including anchors like Macy’s, Dillards and Saks Fifth Avenue.

    On Sunday, the mall created a mini Black Friday-esque atmosphere when Macy's hosted its Signature Preview Charity Day, allowing shoppers to donate to the charity of their choice in exchance for discount shopping, as well as Dillard's soft opening at the South end of the mall. 

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    Other must-shop spots include Tiffany, Anthropologie and more. As the opening draws closer, more and more stores are being announced, including the most recent Organic Nail Bar, H&M, Z Gallerie, Calypso St. Barth, Lululemon, Brooks Brothers Women, Free People and more.

    For foodies, the shopping mall offers a bite or two at restaurants like BRIO Tuscan Grille, The Capital Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, Kona Grill and Seasons 52, so prepare to stick around after you tackle your shopping list.

    To get shoppers buzzing about the grand opening, the mall held a photo contest where shoppers were invited to "Show Off Your UTC" by forming or creating the letters "UTC" (as in University Town Center) and submitting at The Mall at UTC's Facebook page. The submission with the most votes will win a grand prize of a $5,000 shopping spree, one year of monthly valet parking, $250 in dining vouchers and a Santa Photo Package at The Mall at UTC.

    Five finalists were selected, with each finalist winning a $1,000 shopping spree and two tickets to The Mall at UTC's Sneak Peek Charity Event on Oct. 15.

    Finalists will also have their entries displayed at the mall during grand opening weekend. Those five finalists will be displayed on Facebook, and for everyone who votes between Oct. 10 through 19, you'll be entered into a contest to win a daily shopping spree of $1,000. It's a win-win for everyone. Get the full scoop on the contest here

    If you’re anticipating the opening of this latest luxury mall, head over to the website to catch a glimpse of the official countdown.  A sneak peek is being offered this week on Oct. 15, the night before the grand opening, for those who purchase tickets. Each guest at the preview will receive a $20 gift card to shop the mall before its open to the public. Or, wait until the next day and see what the fuss is all about.

    If you go … Town Center Pkwy, Bradenton, Fla. 34202

    Want more shopping tips from Visit Florida’s Shopping Insider? Follow Ginger Harris on Twitter and Facebook.