One of the most ambitious development projects slated for Miami has ditched its signature feature. The Miami Worldcenter Development has announced it will no longer include an enclosed shopping mall. The news comes just months before the mall was scheduled to break ground. Instead, the development will now include a less ambitious Lincoln Road-style, open-air shopping promenade.
"Unfortunately, we were unable to structure an enclosed mall program that meets our investment criteria," Robert S. Taubman — chairman, president, and chief executive officer of mall developer Taubman Centers — said in a statement. "We’re pleased, however, to work with the Forbes Company and Miami Worldcenter Associates on the potential development of a high-street plan that we all believe will provide an outstanding retail experience.”
The proposed mall would have included 765,000 square feet of retail on three floors. Macy's and Bloomingdale's had signed on to be the key anchor stores. Taubman Centers is known for developing high-end shopping malls throughout Florida, including the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, the Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, and Waterside Shops in Naples.
However, the retail industry is changing, and traditional enclosed shopping malls across the nation have been struggling.
“We’ve shifted the retail from a suburban mall to more of a high-street retail concept like you’d see in Union Square in San Francisco or SoHo in New York or the Design District,” Nitin Motwani, principal of master developer Miami Worldcenter Associates, told the Miami Herald. “We’re taking the roof off and we’re going to create a very pedestrian-friendly public space.”
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Macy's and Bloomingdale's may or may not drop out of the new plans. The two big-box retailers combined would have accounted for 320,000 square feet of the original plan. Developers say the new plans won't delay the completion of the project.
The move also comes just a few months after Triple Five announced plans to build the largest mall in America in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Spanning 27 acres in the Park West neighborhood, Worldcenter is still brining other major changes to the area. The development will also include a convention center, an 1,800-room hotel, and 1,500 condo units.