Aventura Mall To Become Second Biggest in Country, Pending Approval
It's 2.7 million square feet and about to get larger. Apparently a certain billionaire wasn't satisfied with his Aventura Mall merely being the biggest one in Florida. He's proposing that his Bloomingdales-anchored behemoth jump from the third to the second-largest shopping center in America. Sorry, King of Prussia Mall in Philly. Our mall game throws more shade than a Sunglass Hut.
The plan is to add a new, three-story retail wing and a seven-level garage. While we can't imagine there are enough other iterations of Abercrombie to justify 4.2 more football fields worth of shopping space, the additional parking spots will certainly do much to curb violent altercations that take place between angry dads outside of the mall's Cheesecake Factory.
Aventura Mall was built in 1983 by four partners at the Oxford Development Company in Philadelphia. It's now owned by one of their heirs, Jeffrey Soffer. He's a tabloid favorite who's been dating supermodel Elle Macpherson since 2009, although the two briefly separated when Soffer was caught up in a lawsuit for allegedly piloting a helicopter into a fatal accident. In December of last year, Soffer was sued for $1 billion dollars by the widow of Lance Valdez, a tax attorney.
The real estate mogul regularly deals in numbers with lots and lots of zeros. The mall's owners pay a whopping $1.2 billion mortgage, Miami Today reports. Last year, the place did about $1.4 billion in sales, with the average customer spending about $340 per visit. The amount is pretty remarkable considering malls basically exist for broke-ass teenagers to walk around inside. It's also about four times the national average, which means that Aventura kids are rich, or that other shoppers there are so insanely rich they can cancel out the tight-wadded teens.
Mall mogul Soffer also owns the Fountainbleau on South Beach. His attempt at building a $2 billion Las Vegas Fountainbleau was called "one of the biggest busts of the U.S. real estate crisis" last November by the Miami Herald. Soffer was accused of mismanagement by creditors, although the businessman blames banks for withholding construction funds.
Aventura city officials are currently reviewing the mall plan to make sure it means zoning requirements.
Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.