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From old malls to the White House, this designer brings life to dated spaces

From old malls to the White House, this designer brings life to dated spaces
How Michele Oca’s European perspective saw the potential to transform massive commercial spaces into indoor adventure parks

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Michele "Mik" Oca, the founder of US Design Lab in Tampa, specializes in revitalizing vacant commercial spaces to create maximum amusement. Oca, who has more than 20 years of experience in the design industry, offers a range of services to investors, including master planning, concept design, brand development, and marketing. He has worked on projects of all scales, from small businesses to the White House in Washington, D.C.

Oca's most recent project, Elev8 Fun in Citrus Park Town Center, is a transformed Sears store that now houses an indoor adventure park. The park features activities such as mini-golf, arcade games, virtual reality shooting games, go-karts, laser tag, and axe-throwing. The design is meant to appeal to all generations, evoking "mall nostalgia" with retro details and life-size animated figures.

The first Elev8 Fun opened in Sanford in January 2022, with Citrus Park's opening in May 2023. Another converted Sears is expected to open next summer at the Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach, and a fourth Elev8 Fun is expected to open at the Miami International Mall by the end of 2025.

The park aims to create a social environment where people can gather, laugh, and play, appealing to both adults and kids. The design is meant to attract environments for all generations, from those who grew up going to malls to those who are new to the experience. On a recent Friday evening, three generations of a family were seen enjoying the activities at Elev8 Fun, showcasing the park's appeal to people of all ages.