Bal Harbor Expansion Signals Strong Retail Market

By now, you may have noticed a common theme on our blog: Miami’s commercial real estate market is white hot. While cities like Houston and DC are struggling with high vacancy rates, the South Florida market continues to experience incredible growth.

At ComReal, we often cover office, industrial, and warehouse news, but it’s worth noting that our city’s retail market is going strong as well. Last week, the developer of the 463K SF Bal Harbor Shops announced that they have taken out a $550M loan to expand by 300K SF. At a time when malls nationwide are on the decline, Bal Harbor has been fully leased for decades and even has a waiting list.

“Miami retail is strong compared to other markets nationwide,” says Lisa Tenn, Office and Retail Specialist at ComReal. “Miami vacancy rates are at 3.9% and rent growth in the Miami metro is at 3.4%. Four out of five top five retail rent grown metros are in Florida.”

Bal Harbor was founded in 1965 and is owned by the Whitmans, an old Miami family that has had roots in the Beach since the early 1900s. The Whitmans helped develop Espanola Way and sold the land where the Fontainebleau now sits. According to Bisnow, Bal Harbor’s expansion will add 20K SF to their existing Neiman Marcus store, as well as additional space for Barney’s New York, a three-story promenade, a grand entrance, and more. The mall is already home to Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Chanel, Gucci and other luxury stores.

What’s more, Bal Harbor is not an outlier. The nearby Aventura Mall just added a 315K SF wing, while the $4 billion American Dream Miami–billed as the largest mall in the country–is in development at the northwestern end of the county.Miami’s appetite for retail gives it a unique market position. Many traditional retailers are struggling to compete with e-commerce, but our city’s specific makeup has buffered us against much of the damage. High tourism numbers account for a large portion of Miami’s spending–visitors spend three times as much as locals–but what can we say? Miami loves to shop.

ComReal is your go-to resource for South Florida commercial real estate news. Drop us a line any time. We’re always happy to hear from you.