Bal Harbour Shops Expansion Moves Ahead
The owner of Bal Harbour Shops, Whitman Family Development is adding 340,000 square feet to the already existing 450,000 square feet of space. The new area will be home to the first Barneys New York in Florida. The construction planned to start in late 2018, marks the first in almost three and a half decades of the shop’s existence.
The addition of Barney’s in the luxury shopping center is proof that it still holds its own in the tough luxury retail market. The update and new retail is a bold move to stay in the running against new and rising retail locations like Aventura Mall and the Design District.
“Bal Harbour Shops still stands as the gold standard in luxury retail in South Florida,” said Rafael Romero, a VP of commercial brokerage CREC. “There are more luxury retail projects, but at the end of the day, it is very challenging for these new players to trump Bal Harbour Shops.”
Based on Green Street Advisors’ report of the top 10 malls in the U.S. by sales in 2016, Bal Harbour Shops came out on top. The Shops brought in $3,185 in sales per square foot. A competitor in the area, Aventura Mall came fifth on the list, bringing in $1,595 per square foot with 2.1 million square feet of retail space.
Claiming the number one spot doesn’t stop Bal Harbour from feeling the pressure of keeping on top. Aventura Mall’s owners, Turnberry Associates, just opened a new wing which added 315,000 square feet of shops and cost $214 million to build. The new side features shops, restaurants, and an interactive nine-story Carsten Höller sculpture that holds two slides. Besides the expansion, Turnberry also gained retail stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Givenchy.
The Design District also poses a threat to Bal Harbour despite not making the Green Street top 10 list. In 2013, Design District was able to secure commitments from famous high fashion brands including, Tom Ford, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. The revamp of the area has also brought in additional investors, included Redsky Capital from Brooklyn, JZ Capital Partners from London, Helm Equities from New York, and more.
“All those tenants understand why it is important to put flagships in the urban core,” explained Tony Arellano, who is a principal with DWNTWN Realty Advisors. “Some people would argue the Design District, over time, will grow into a better location, in terms of density, than Bal Harbour Shops.”
The first two phases at Design District are 98 percent complete, and the retail space for the third phase would be leased within the next six months. The Design District offers an urban location filled with culture and cache. The area provides retail brands the space they need to grow and showcase their products.
The Shopping center fought to win approval from the Bal Harbour Village Council to expand their location. “There is an intimacy in our scale that we don’t ever want to lose,” said Matthew Whitman Lazenby, CEO of Whitman Family Development. “But this expansion is going to provide the supply to meet our current demand for space.”
“It serves as the ultimate statement that Bal Harbour Shops continues to be dominant in this market,” CREC’s Romero said. “When it comes to an established name that is recognized worldwide, Bal Harbour Shops has yet to be beaten in that category.”
Lazenby also hopes that the expansion will draw back some of the top brands that relocated to the Design District due to lack of space. “We believe now, as we did then, that we would be better off if they were still here,” Lazenby said. “We hope one day, they will return.”