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Antonio Louis, 27, of Leesburg, stands outside the newly named Via Port Florida Mall, formerly Lake Square Mall.
Antonio Louis, 27, of Leesburg, stands outside the newly named Via Port Florida Mall, formerly Lake Square Mall. (Jerry Fallstrom, Orlando Sentinel)

The Turkish owner of the Leesburg's tired and dated shopping mall revealed a sweeping new plan to revitalize it Tuesday by adding a "Fun Zone" into the abandoned former Target space at the back of the mall and develop seven new restaurant spots in its front parking lot.

Jennifer Glidewell, the mall's manager, said there are plans for a 22-lane bowling alley, go-cart track, restaurant, bar and arcade in the 87,000 square feet left vacant when Target moved out. Originally the owner had planned to use only 30,000 square feet for the entertainment center.

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"We now have 57,000 square feet more to go with so we are having a lot of fun," said Glidewell.

On Monday night the Leesburg City Commission rezoned the property to allow the entertainment use.

The formerly named Lake Square Mall is Lake County's only enclosed shopping center. It was recently renamed Via Port Florida by its owner Via Port Properties, a Turkish developer that bought the mall in September from New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, which paid $13.28 million for it.

The company spent more than $2 million in cleaning and repairs, said Michael Rankin, Leesburg's deputy city manager. "They took a tired looking piece of property in need of some dollars to shore it up and turned it into a pristine environment," Rankin said.

In addition to general sprucing up, the food court area got a new floor and a fountain was added in front of the Belk department store. And the newest addition is an 80-foot-tall LED sign added at the entrance.

"It's a Vegas-like look, an attention getter," said Rankin. "They have invested in the bricks and mortar, and now we are recruiting tenants for the mall."

tburney@growthspotter.com or 407-420 6261

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