Miami Design District on Monday said Gucci has signed a lease to open a two-level flagship in the evolving neighborhood where art, culture, retail and restaurants are emerging.
Craig Robins, chief executive officer and president of Dacra, a Miami-based real estate development firm that owns 70 percent of the area’s properties with partner L Real Estate, said the Gucci flagship will be at least 7,000 square feet and could end up being larger. It’s slated to open in 2017.
Getting Gucci to make a commitment to the Design District has “been a goal for the past eight years,” Robins said. “I was hopeful, but I couldn’t expect it.
“Gucci has done collaborations with us during Art Basel,” Robins added. “They’ve seen the neighborhood emerge as a real cultural hub with a special kind of audience and a place that’s more experiential.”
Robins said brands in general aren’t doing a lot of expansion now, so having Gucci sign a lease “validated that this is place has real meaning. It’s such a coup. Gucci is one of the big luxury brands that do large commercial volume.”
“Gucci has always represented great design and contemporary lifestyle,” said Gucci president and ceo Marco Bizzarri. “We want to be where collectors, style influencers and cultural creatives come together, and in Miami, that’s the Design District.”
The are has already opened flagships for Hermès, Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton.
“We have them all except for Chanel,” Robins said. “Chanel would be wonderful.”
Other new brands include Ahana Yoga, Alexander Wang, Eres, Estefan Kitchen, Christian Louboutin, MM6, The Smile and Warby Parker.
Bowing later this year are luxury brands such as Saint Laurent, Van Cleef & Arpels, Loro Piana and Dolce & Gabbana, and contemporary labels Isabel Marant, Tory Burch, Alice & Olivia and Rag & Bone. In addition, COS confirmed that it will open a store in the Design District.
“We’re having tremendous success in lifestyle components such as fitness, cafés and restaurants,” Robins said. “We’ve had success in signing a lot of contemporary brands, which means we’ll have a variety of price points.”
The expansion of the cultural aspect of the neighborhood continues with public art design installations commissioned for the neighborhood. The De la Cruz Collection, a private museum that’s open to the public and the Institute of Contemporary Art, which opened in 2014 are neighborhood draws.
“It’s really going to come together in the next 18 months,” Robins said. “We’re talking to brands in lifestyle, we want to add contemporary and there’s still luxury. Restaurants are a big priority for us. They make this a viable ecosystem. People can shop and be involved in museums and have lunch or dinner.”
Restaurants include four Joel Robuchon concepts, Jean George Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, Estefan Kitchen, a Cuban restaurant from Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and The Smile.
In terms of tenants, Robins said the Miami Design District is 30 percent filled.
“It’s uneven,” he said. “We’re in a market that’s generally down. The Russians, Brazilians and the dollar have impacted things. Miami is way down. On average, we’re up. Some of our stores are struggling and some are doing well.
“The Design District is all new and more people discovering it every day,” Robins continued. “The Design District is growing. I remember a couple of months ago when Dior opened. It had a transformative effect on the whole neighborhood.”
By the end of 2017, 90 percent of the offerings at the Design District should be open.
“We still have development rights to add 1.5 million to two million square feet,” Robins said. “We want to finish what we’re working on. The current phase will have just under 1 million. As interesting ideas surface, we’ll consider them. There’s going to be lot of opportunities to do things. It’s not going to have two million square feet of retail.”