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Friday, May 30, 2008

Aventura Mall adds $125 Million in Upscale Retailers

Consumer confidence may be down and the economy cooling down but that has not discouraged Turnberry Associates, owner and manager of The Aventura Mall, from completing a $125 million dollar, commercial real estate project. The new project consists of a three level wing of upscale stores and restaurants to the mall. This expansion includes a 167,000 square foot Nordstrom department store.

With this new commercial real estate project underway, Aventura Mall is set to become one of the nations largest with its plan to add 300,000 square feet in fall 2007.

The 2.8 million square foot shopping mall was opened in 1983 at 19501 Biscayne Boulevard and expanded twice, in 1997 and again in 2006.

Already regarded as one of the nation's top malls in terms of sales productivity, the upscale luxury mall is among the five highest grossing shopping malls in the country.

Hosting over 20 million visitors each year, the average shopper spends$111 per visit, compared to the national average of $57 per visit.

"That's amazing," said Sharon Dresser, a retail agent with The Shopping Center Group brokerage in Miami. "They are going for the real high end and I think they are really going to carve out that high-end niche." 

"The leasing plan is to lure higher-end retailers to be in line with Nordstrom," Yamila Garayzar, director of corporate marketing for the retail division of Turnberry Associates, the mall's majority owner and operator.

The renovation officially got under way March 2, but no date has been set to begin building Nordstrom on the spot where Lord & Taylor once stood.

Retail merchants joining Nordstrom in the newly constructed wing are Lilly Pulitzer, White House/Black Market, Chico’s, Niccolo $ Maffeo, Adolfo Dominquez, Adriano Goldschmied, Astoria, Atelier Prive, BCBG, Gilly Hicks, Calvin Klein, Damiani, Ferrari, Forever 21, Hugo Boss, Intimacy, M Missoni, Origins, Uptown and Parasuco.

With the construction of the Nordstrom wing, Aventura Mall will step from being a super-regional mall to a so-called fortress center.

Services in Aventura Mall include everything from multi-lingual concierges to wireless high speed Internet throughout the mall.

Anabel Llopis, the mall’s marketing director, says the mall enjoys a positive brand in the local market as well as strong appeal among tourists. Being located near tourist friendly Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles and Hollywood is a plus.

But Arthur Weiner, a Miami-based retail broker, said the Nordstrom addition is a good match and will be a boon to both the center and the Seattle-based retailer.

"Aventura was always, and will always be, the kingpin," he said. "It was the one piece of the puzzle missing for Nordstrom."

Still, Weiner said Aventura Mall is a more mass-appeal retailing center that has a way to go to catch up with nearby Bal Harbour Shops, the nation's top luxury retail center, generating $1,421 a square foot in sales.

"There is no question that [Aventura Mall] wanted to be a more upscale mall, but Bal Harbour does exist," Weiner said. "To do luxury, you have got to have patience and understand it is a long-term play."

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