Swire, Whitman, Simon Partner on Miami Development

Simon Property Group, Swire Properties and Whitman Family Development are teaming up to jointly develop a project in downtown Miami.
Interior Retail View 1 FINAL

Simon Property Group, the largest mall operator in the United States, has teamed up with Swire Properties, Inc., and Whitman Family Development to jointly develop the 500,000-square-foot retail portion of the $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre project in downtown Miami.

Under the partnership, Swire will remain the primary developer of the 5.4 million-square-foot mixed-use project, while Simon and Whitman will share the role of co-developer for the retail component. Under construction since 2013, the first phase is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of this year. A second phase will begin construction in the first quarter of 2016. In addition to the 500,000-square-foot shopping center, Brickell City Centre will feature two residential towers, a hotel with serviced apartments and two mid-rise office towers. It is the largest private-sector project under construction in Miami.

While no financial details were released by the partners, David Simon, Simon chairman & CEO, said during a conference call with analysts that Simon was going to have a 25 percent interest in the retail portion and manage the shopping center. He said they would be leading the leasing effort.

“We’ve made a lot of progress on leasing and we are very, very confident about ability to deliver a very, very compelling mix,” Simon said during the call about the company’s first-quarter 2015 earnings.

Responding to questions, Simon called Brickell City Centre a “unique, terrific long-term mixed-use retail asset” and said together they would “deliver a great product to the marketplace.”

In August, Swire and Whitman announced they had reached a deal with Hudson’s Bay Co. to open a Saks Fifth Avenue as a luxury retail anchor at Brickell City Centre. Cinemex, a Mexico-based dine-in movie cinema chain, agreed to its U.S. property at the new shopping center.

No other tenants have been announced for the retail portion of the property although Swire Hotels, a sister company to Hong Kong-based Swire Properties Inc., is building a hotel that will be called EAST, Miami. It will have 263 luxury guestrooms and 89 serviced apartments as part of EAST Residences. In other project milestones, the first residential tower, Reach, is now more than 80 percent sold, and Ackerman L.L.P., the largest law firm in Florida, was named as the anchor tenant in Brickell City Centre Green. Ackerman will be taking 108,000 square feet, 80 percent, of the Class A office tower.

“Brickell City Centre is on its way to redefining urban living in the Brickell neighborhood, and we feel that this partnership will further enhance its retail component to offer an unparalleled lifestyle experience in Miami,” Stephen Owens, Swire Properties president, said in a news release. “Simon Property Group’s and Whitman Family Development’s expertise and proven track record of success 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.”

Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president & CEO of Whitman, said, “This exciting collaboration allows us to further fulfill our shared vision and bring the right mix to Brickell City Centre.”

Richard Sokolov, president & COO of Simon, stated in the release, “We have already seen strong interest from retailers who have enjoyed great success with us around the country and who are very excited to join us at Brickell City Centre.”

Simon, which owns or has interests in 228 retail real estate properties, has several shopping centers in the Miami area. They include: Aventura Mall, Dadeland Mall, The Falls, Miami International Mall and The Shops at Sunset Place.

Whitman is a family-owned real estate company headquartered in Miami that is the developer, owner and operator of Bal Harbour Shops, the high-end retail center ranked the world’s top shopping center by the International Council of Shopping Centers.