More than two years in the making, Hermès of Paris’ flagship store in the Miami’s Design District is set to open on Friday.
With three stories and an undulating staircase, the 13,000-square-foot boutique at 163 Northeast 39th Street represents one of the French brand’s largest stores in the United States, said Robert Chavez, president and CEO of Hermès U.S., who was at the boutique’s unveiling on Thursday
“It really started with Craig Robins’ vision,” Chavez told The Real Deal, recalling how Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, came to see him three-and-a-half years ago, and told him of his plans to transform the Design District into a luxury shopping destination. “Let’s do it,” Chavez recalls saying after learning more and witnessing what could be created. Once Hermès lease expired at Bal Harbour Shops, Hermès opened a temporary store in the Design District, and began designing and building the new flagship.
“We felt it was definitely a market where we wanted to make a significant investment,” Chavez said.
The goal was to create an inviting setting for visitors to experience the full Hermès collection, amid floor-t0-ceiling glass and an abundance of natural light. The building’s facade has two layers: a glazed glass box, covered with a white-coated steel grid, broken up by hundreds of vertical steel tubes of varying thickness.
“It’s the perfect expression of what the Design District is all about,” Robins told TRD of the new store. “It’s a neighborhood where brands can get out of the more boring context and be creative, and create flagship stores that are different, because it it’s a place where they can experiment and do things that are more exciting,”
As part of Hermès’ new store concept, the Hermès men’s collection is at the front of the space on the first level. The Miami boutique also is the first store in the United States to have a “shop-in-shop” of Saint-Louis crystal, which has its own entrance on the first floor.
The store’s second floor showcases Hermès’ silk scarves, fashion jewelry, accessories, and the brand’s watch and fine jewelry collection. The third floor offers handbags, apparel, shoes, saddles and perfumes. The array of products reflects the Florida market, like flamingo print scarves and brightly colored items, said Peter Malachi, Hermès’ senior vice president of communications.
At the top of store’s rooftop sits the Hermès symbol of a horse, one of just six stores in the world to have it . “The fact that they chose Miami as one of six cities in the world is a huge statement for us,” Robins said.
In the Design District, commercial rents are now about $150 per square foot, blended, for three stories, Robins told TRD. Other brands with three-story boutiques include Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Valentino. Dior, which will open its flagship in March, will also have a three-story building.
Amid the transformation of the district, Dacra now has 50 retail businesses open and other property owners — including Thor Equities and TriStar Capital — have an additional 12 stores open, Robins said. By March, Dacra’s figure will rise to 60. Construction on another 20 stores has begun, and those stores will start to open in late 2016, he said.
By the end of 2017, Dacra will have 120 stores open on its own property, and other property owners will have another 40. Ten new restaurants are also planned.
“This is a major step in what is still a long process of new opportunities and new offerings that are going to transform the Design District over time,” Robins said.