"Mr. DeBartolo was a bit of a visionary," said Helena Martensen, regional marketing director for Simon Property Group, which now owns the mall. He "had an uncanny knack for forecasting future areas of growth. And his crystal ball told him Crystal River was going to be an area of" growth.
The issue leads to the inevitable chicken-and-egg question: Will the mall attract chain restaurants once its traffic increases, or will the traffic increase only after the mall attracts chain restaurants?
Not exactly. [Courtney Holcombe], the Crystal River graduate and current college freshman, said Citrus teens generally don't regard the mall as a good place to hang out, mostly because it's small and lacks the kinds of specialty stores - Old Navy, the Gap, Banana Republic - that appeal to young shoppers.