Miami Hunts for New Retailers, Pedestrian Traffic

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor In an attempt to recreate New York City’s SoHo or its Meat Packing District, Miami’s innovative real estate company Dacra is determined to keep buying more property in the Design District in order to add to [...]

In an attempt to recreate New York City’s SoHo or its Meat Packing District, Miami’s innovative real estate company Dacra is determined to keep buying more property in the Design District in order to add to its inventory of luxury fashion tenants, pedestrian traffic and maybe even residences. Developer Craig Robins, over the course of 17 years, has managed to turn the once-derelict Design District into the trendy destination for high-end home furnishings, art and dining that is today.

Yet Robins feels like there’s a missing piece to the puzzle—the pedestrian traffic that could turn it into a 24-hour energetic urban area. Robins’ ambitious expansion plan includes a new mix of luxury international fashion retailers, boutique hotels and loft apartments. Spending $40 million this year alone for 10 more properties, he is now in possession of 60 percent of the entire neighborhood and as soon as his current deals close—sometime within the next 60 days—Robins and his company, Dacra, will own 26 properties in the Design District, totaling 700,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial property and 20 acres of land.

Targeting the industry’s biggest names, including Cartier, Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Armani and Hermes, Robins’ goal is to bring in 20 to 30 luxury retailers within the next five years. Industry experts have gained confidence in this plan after Louis Vuitton’s March announcement that the luxury brand plans to open a store in the area by 2014. Some of the initial retailers, such as Luminaire—one of the area’s first tenants—have also shown interest in enlarging or even doubling their existing footprint.

On a smaller scale, Dadeland Mall announced four new retailers of its own, that are to be added this summer to its list of over 185 stores. Henri Bendel, Pandora, BSA Hair Salon and BSA Nail Spa will now be anchors of the 7535 N. Kendall Drive mall, joining the likes of Macy’s, JCPenney, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lacoste.