Hermès on Thursday unveiled a permanent store in the Miami Design District — a three-story, 10,000-square-foot flagship — in the ongoing gentrification of the 18-square-block shopping district.
Saint Laurent, Loro Piana, Tod’s, Isabel Marant, Joseph, Alice & Olivia, Tory Burch, Sevan Biçakçı, Zilly, Creed, Aesop and sneaker store Be Miami recently signed leases to open stores in the district, according to Craig Robins, the area’s primary landlord.
The district is owned by Miami Design District Associates, a partnership between Dacra and L Real Estate, a global real estate development and investment fund. General Growth Properties and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. last fall took a 20 percent stake in the district.
Some of the tenants, who requested anonymity, have said business has been slow to take off in the district, with sparse shopper traffic. Robins admitted that “the business in Miami has been a bit challenged, with the Brazilians and the Russians,” a reference to Brazil’s economic downturn and Russia’s prolonged recession. Tourists from Brazil and Russia have been conspicuous consumers of luxury and contemporary goods.
The Miami market will get much more crowded with two imposing retail projects: The Mall at Miami Worldcenter, developed by the Forbes Company and Taubman Centers, and anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Brickell City Center, a partnership between Swire Properties, Whitman Family Development and Simon Property Group, anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue.
In addition, Bal Harbour Shops has said it wants to expand the property, which has seen several luxury brands defect to the design district.
“It will be interesting to see what gets built and what works,” Robins said. “Some projects will succeed and some won’t do as well. Miami’s such a big, powerful market, there’s room for retailers to have more than one location.
“We’re starting to get some cool brands in the contemporary category with Alice & Olivia,” said Robins. “We already signed Rag & Bone. The momentum continues to build as more stores open.
“This is a turning point for Hermès,” Robins added. “Dior will open in March. By the end of 2016, we’ll have 60 stores open. By the middle of 2017, it will jump to 120.”
Robins said there’s only one retail space left in the Design District’s current phase. “We’re completely rented,” he said, adding that he’s working on the next phase of the area’s development.
“We’re continuing to expand on the luxury offering,” Robins said. “We have most of the great brands now. We’re very focused on having a great selection of contemporary brands also. We’re trying to get these really cool, edgy brands. We don’t just want to be luxury. We want to have an offering that’s more than that.”
The district will have 10 restaurants, including Jean-George Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen and Joël Robuchon’s Atelier, in addition to eateries that have already opened, including The Embassy, MC Food and Mandarin Aegean Bistro.