Swire Properties, Whitman Family Development and Simon Property Group on Thursday revealed a three-way partnership to jointly develop the retail component of Brickell City Centre, a $1.05 billion, 5.4 million-square-foot mixed use development in downtown Miami whose first phase includes a luxury shopping center anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, two residential towers, a hotel and two office towers.
Simon and Whitman will share the role of co-developing the retail component of Brickell City Centre. Whitman and Swire entered into a partnership in January 2013 to co-develop Brickell’s 500,000-square-foot shopping center.
“We’re delighted to have Simon Property Group join us and Whitman Family Development,” said Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties. “Simon Property Group and Whitman Family Development’s expertise and proven track record in developing and managing high end shopping centers in the United States promises to broaden Brickell City Centre’s appeal to a wide spectrum of visitors, including Miami’s high net-worth residents and international clientele.”
Richard Sokolov, president and chief operating officer of Simon, said, “We have already seen strong interest from retailers who have enjoyed great success with us around the country and are very excited to join us at Brickell City Centre.”
The first phase of construction is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2015. A second phase will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
Brickell City Centre is not the only new development slated to rise n Miami. The Forbes Company and Taubman Centers are planning Miami Worldcenter, which will have residential units and a 765,000-square-foot mall anchored by Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s along with dining and entertainment.
Both Brickell City Centre and Miami Worldcenter lag behind the Miami Design District in terms of landing luxury brands. Louis Vuitton and Cartier are among the 60 retailers that have opened stores there and Hermes, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana Celine are building large flagships.
Owens on Friday said that the critical mass provided by the 5,000 condominium units and 2,000 hotel rooms under way will catch the attention of retailers.
“Our goal is try to hold ourselves to one major luxury anchor, which we have with Saks,” Owens said. “We’ll have specialty and unique shopping. We spoke to most of the major department stores, [Saks] was one of the few that really got it.”
Owens said Brickell will appeal to Miami’s changing demographics. “Miami has signficiant international appeal that’s not exclusively luxury,” he said. “It’s broader than that. Many young professionals moving from Latin America are not luxury [consumers]. A growing number of permanent residence owners are becoming younger and more professional, so we have to have a retail offering that’s skewing to all these different contingencies.”
Miami is becoming recognized as a city that can accommodate multiple units for certain retailers. “We’ve seen tenants say they would only open on store in a city and now they’re looking at Miami and saying, ‘We need another location,'” Owens said.
The Brickell shopping center will have several unique features, including a “Climate Ribbon,” a continuing trellis made of glass and steel and fitted with fabric-covered louvers that let in natural light while keeping shoppers shaded and comfortable with breezes captured from Biscayne Bay. The mall with have 70,000 square feet of restaurants. “In addition, we’ll be opening this year in one of our hotels the top restaurant in Punta del Este,” the popular resort in Uruguay.
Simon will bring more than 55 years of international experience in the retail market, including a successful South Florida portfolio. Whitman is the developer, owner and operator of the Bal Harbour Shops and Swire is one of South Florida’s leading international developers of mixed use urban properties.
“We have three of teams participating and working on [the leasing,]” Owens said. “Each one has their own specialty niche in terms of leasing expertise.”