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    Diverse #Miami #Retail Scene Continues to Attract #Luxury #Brands

    Everybody wants a piece of the Miami luxury market.

    Aventura Mall, the third-largest shopping center in the U.S. with 2.7 million square feet, has been adding luxury brands to its mix. Givenchy and Gucci will bow in the summer and fall, respectively. St. John and 120 percent Lino, an Italian brand of linen apparel for men, women and children, recently opened.

    Aventura in 2017 will add a new three-level, 315,000-square-foot wing. The Carlos Zapata-designed extension will have a rooftop garden and VIP concierge area.

    Due to its size, Aventura has a broad array of tenants, the majority of which are not high end. The center, which is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s features other luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Fendi, Bally and Emilio Pucci.

    The competition in Miami started heating up in 2012 when Louis Vuitton, Céline, Emilio Pucci and Christian Dior closed their stores at the Bal Harbour Shops and relocated either to Miami’s Design District or Aventura Mall. Hermès, which also defected, operated a temporary store in the Design District before unveiling its 10,000-square foot flagship there last year.

    While several luxury brands operate more than one unit in Miami, the city’s tourist trade has been dented by the strong U.S. dollar, Brazil’s economic downturn and Russia’s prolonged recession. Tourists from Brazil and Russia have been conspicuous consumers of luxury and contemporary goods.

    Jackie Soffer, co-chairman and ceo of Turnberry Associates, owner and manager of Aventura Mall, said the property attracts 28 million visitors a year. “We cater to a much larger audience,” she said, referring to other retail venues. “If you’re selling a $5 million ring, you may not need that. We have a lot of customers buying $10,000 or 20,000 handbags.

    “Tourism is down in Miami,” she added. “The Brazilian market hasn’t been as strong. We’re getting a lot more U.S. tourists. That’s made up for it a bit.”

    “It will be interesting to see what gets built and what works,” Craig Robins, the primary landlord in the Design District. “Some projects will succeed and some won’t do as well. Miami’s such a big, powerful market; there’s room for retailers to have more than one location.”

    The district is owned by Miami Design District Associates, a partnership between Dacra and L Real Estate, a global real estate development and investment fund, General Growth Properties and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.

    Bal Harbour Shops wants to expand with a new wing that would nearly double its size to 850,000 square feet. Whitman Family Development, which owns Bal Harbour Shops, needs voter approval for a land swap deal in order to go forward with the plan.

    New construction in Miami includes the 500,000-square-foot Brickell City  Centre, which will be anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s part of a $1.05 billion, 5.4 million-square-foot, mixed-use Brickell project that’s being developed by Swire Properties Inc., Whitman and Simon. Valentino, Chopard, Guiseppe Zanotti, Bally, Kiton, Vilebrequin and La Perla are among the retailers expected to bow in the fall.

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