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Monday, May 7, 2007

BIG-BOX Stores – How much is to much?

Miami developers and retailers think the urban cores of Miami and Miami Beach are the best places to built big-box stores. The shops at Midtown Miami, Bayview Market, Omni, City Square and Fith & Alton Road are all competing for a piece of the market. The main point of some annalist is that the mega centers are competing for the same tenants and in the end for some of the same consumers.

While Midtown Miami is partly open and Fifth & Alton is about to break ground, most industry predict that among the other projects only two will become reality. The problem is that there is not enough tenants for the space who can afford to pay the prices that developers are wanting for.

Miami new retail trend is to include in the center of the city some of the mega stores that for reason of side have usually been established in the outside of the city in places such as Kendall or Aventura.

Some of the possible tenants include Home Depot, Costco, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Wal-mart, Staples, JC Penney; Beth, Bath and Beyond, and Kohl’s. They are going to choose between the projects mentioned above. At the end, the decision for each tenant will come down to the cost of each project versus how soon it can be built, the exact location and the physical limitations of the site.

Status of the major projects:
1. The Shops at The Midtown Miami: The center is partly open. The first mega store to open was Target. More stores have been gradually opening including: Circuit City, Linens, ‘N Things, West Elm, Loehmann’s, Marshalls and Foot Locker.

2. Fifth & Alton: After five years of planning, this project is ready to break ground in South Beach. It consists of 180,000 square-foot and it will have over 1,100 parking spaces. The date of opening is schedule for early 2009.

3. OMNI: The new plan for this project call for 250,000 square feet of big-box retailers. There are going to be another 35,000 square feet spread around the building perimeter for restaurants and other small shops. Plans are calling for starting construction in the third quarter of 2007 with an opening in late 2008 or early 2009.

4. Bayview Market: Site work has already begun and construction should begin late in the third quarter with an opening by mid-2009. The project has been scaled to 554,000 square feet divided over four levels, plus 2,303 parking spaces. Sources are saying that Wal-Mart is trying to finalize a deal at the site.

5. City Square: This project is the one most delayed since developers still not closed on a $190 million deal to buy the land from the McClachy Corporation.

It is important to know that even if all the projects do not happen, it is a big improvement for urban life where consumers have been living in a shopping wasteland for years.

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