The Real Deal Miami

Berman invests in a facelift at struggling Downtown at the Gardens mall

December 23, 2009 02:15PM

Downtown at the Gardens, the $150 million outdoor shopping and dining
mall in Palm Beach Gardens that opened in 2005, is now 30 percent
vacant and its new owner, Berman Enterprises, has begun a large-scale
effort to try to save the flailing project. While the company is
rumored to have purchased the complex for just $40 million — the previous owner, a
California pension fund, bought it in 2007 for
more than $200 million — it has since invested much more on

improvements. “It’s big enough that I don’t feel comfortable”
revealing the sum spent on the property, Kevin Berman, one of the
Berman family members heading the project, told the Palm Beach Post.
In addition to several physical improvements, like a new escalator to
the second-story movie theater and improved landscaping, the company
is also looking to attract tenants, especially modestly-priced

restaurants that fit into the concept of so-called “eater-tainment,” meaning that they offer both dining and simultaneous entertainment.
Some have been offered free rent in exchange for a percentage of the
sales proceeds. Berman is also offering free events to attract
visitors, like a holiday light show and an American Idol-style talent
contest. [Palm Beach Post]