In a time where shopping center development has slowed down due to e-commerce concerns, one Canadian developer is planning to undergo a project that would bring the biggest mall in America to Miami. Alberta-based Triple Five Group, owner of Minnesota’s Mall of America, is aiming to begin a project called American Dream Miami. Triple Five said the project “will exceed our other world famous projects in all respects.” Miami-Dade County’s mayor estimated the project would cost around $4 billion. The megamall, in addition to the retail, is expected to have a ski slope, a water park, a sea-lion show, miniature golf, bowling, a submarine ride, restaurants, a performing-arts theater, a cinema, a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and a roller-coaster ride as well as hotels and condominiums.
The big question revolving around the project is whether Miami’s retail market can sustain such a large retail development. Many brokers claim that Miami has a strong retail market and that the city has been relatively unaffected by the emergence of e-commerce. Miami’s population growth is also a good sign of a strong retail market. The city has doubled its downtown population since 2000, and this population is expected to grow by 15% by 2019. Other retailers have taken notice of Miami’s retail market. Three major retail developments totaling 1.63 million square feet are set to be completed in the next 3 years.
Those who doubt Miami’s retail market point out that many owners of Miami condos are not permanent residents and only live in the city 3 months out of the year. They also question whether Miami’s average income level, which is lower than major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, can support the new luxury retail.
Triple Five is hoping that the new retail model based on customer experience can help the mall thrive in Miami. The added amenities can prove to be tricky, however. Cost overruns and construction delays are common with these types of developments. Triple Five is aware of these troubles, as they have faced them with one of their current retail projects in New Jersey. The Group has yet to secure financing for the project and is running into a similar issue with the Miami mall. However, Miami-Dade County is supportive of the project. This would be the largest project in the county’s history and could have a major positive economic impact on the county.
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