Seminole Towne Center power shut off over nonpayment, FPL says

The Seminole Towne Center sat mainly in the dark Thursday night. 

Florida Power & Light shut the power off to the Sanford-area mall, saying mall ownership was behind on its bills.

"Disconnection for nonpayment is and always has been a last resort," an FPL spokesperson told FOX 35 News in a statement. "FPL works with all customers, including the Seminole Towne Center in Sanford, to help them pay their electric bill, including payment plans. While FPL doesn’t take lightly the decision to turn off anyone’s power, we must treat all customers fairly, given unpaid electric bills are ultimately paid for by all our customers in the form of higher rates."

Workers told FOX 35 that the lights never came on Thursday morning, but we were working on Wednesday.

Mall entrances were closed with signs, "We will be closed today. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Some would-be shoppers were not pleased.

"This mall is a little rundown, in my opinion," one woman said. "It’s about 5:30, and it is closed."


Another would-be shopper said she goes to other malls to shop but only visits the Seminole Towne Center for the eye doctor.

"They called me earlier to come pick up my daughter’s glasses, and they’re not open," she said.

Mom-and-pop shops now make up much of the mall, but only the anchor stores are open, including Elev8 Fun, which pays for its own power.

George Naranjo, Elev8 floor manager, said he's seen a decline in foot traffic in the mall over the years.

"It doesn’t shock us to come into work and there’s a news crew in the mall, but it does take us aback from a business standpoint and a morale standpoint," Naranjo said. "It just doesn’t seem like anyone is taking charge of the mall."

Elev8 also paid to rent these portable lights to keep employees safe in the parking lot while the mall’s lights took the night off.

This is just the latest sign of the mall’s money troubles. Last summer, Seminole County said the Towne Center owed more than $800,000 in unpaid property taxes.

"I’ve seen this mall since I was little," another would-be shopper said. "Just throughout the years everything just seems to go move on, and I don’t understand why."

FOX 35 News contacted mall owner Kohan Retail Group out of New York. We have yet to hear back.

No one could tell our crew when the mall's power would be restored.