Photos by Sean Stewart-Muniz
Years in the making, Brickell City Centre’s open-air retail center is launching on Thursday, bringing 500,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant offerings to Miami’s urban core.
Yet due to construction delays, only anchor tenant Saks Fifth Avenue and about a dozen of the 120 planned stores will open initially, as the rest of the shops and eateries rush to complete their space in time for the holiday season. Swire and retail co-developers Simon Property Group and Whitman Family Development have 92 percent of the retail space committed and 88 stores under construction, Swire Properties President Stephen Owens told The Real Deal.
“We’re four to six months behind schedule, which was extremely aggressive,” Owens said. Anywhere from four to 10 stores will open on a weekly basis, he said.
Brickell City Centre’s retail component, a centerpiece of the overall $1.05 billion mixed-use project, spans three levels of shops and two levels of underground parking. The first shopping level will have luxury stores like Armani Collezioni, Chopard and Kiton, with premium and contemporary retailers on the second and third floors.
Construction workers are on site 24 hours a day to build out all the stores, Debora Overholt, vice president of retail for Swire Properties told TRD. A tour of the shopping center on Tuesday revealed that those closest to opening include Pandora, Victoria’s Secret and Sephora, along with Saks. Many of the stores are marking their U.S. debut, like EPL Diamond; LK Leetal Kalmanson; and Carmen Steffens.
Other shops set to open at Brickell City Centre include Apple, Ted Baker, Intermix, Stuart Weitzman, Audemars Piguet, IRO, Bally, Giuseppe Zanoti, Hugo Boss, Illesteva and Lululemon. Apple, with locations on Lincoln Road, the Falls, Dadeland Mall and Aventura Mall, has been rumored to be opening its largest Florida store at BCC. Check out a full list of announced stores here.
“We think excellent tenants like these will make us a destination,” Overholt told TRD. The retail center hopes to draw on the 100,000 people who work in the Brickell area, as well as all the condo residents and tourists, she said.
Cinemex aims to open CMX theater in time for the holidays, Overholt said. The dine-in movie theater will be the first in the U.S. for the Mexico-based chain. Restaurants and bars, including American Harvest, Big Easy Winebar & Grill, Dr. Smood, Häagen-Dazs, Luke’s Lobster, Pasión del Cielo and Pubbelly Sushi, will be on the third floor.
Saks Fifth Avenue’s 107,550-square-foot store offers an open floor plan with a mix of top designers, contemporary fashion, a shoe salon, cosmetics area and a full floor devoted to men, which will include a New York-based John Allan’s men’s salon.
The store will also have the first Casa Tua Food Hall, which will open on the first floor, in the spring or summer, offering gourmet Italian food to eat on-site as well as a market, said Ramona Messore, vice president and store manager. On the third floor will be “a Casa Tua resto bar, offering cooking classes and wine tastings, as a spin-off of what they have in Miami [Beach],” Messore said.
Swire Properties first purchased the land for Brickell City Centre in 2008, at the height of the banking crisis and real estate downturn, Owens said.
“We as a company had the foresight, vision and commitment to go forward with the land,” he said. In 2012, Swire Properties was the fourth mixed-use project in Miami to announce its plans. Yet it was the first to begin and now, complete construction.
The project is certified LEED Gold and stars the Climate Ribbon, a $30 million, 1,000-foot long twisted strip of steel, glass and fabric. Hugh Dutton designed the ribbon, which tilts upward at the entrances to capture breezes, he told TRD. The glass protects from rain and deflects UV rays, said Anne Cotter of Arquitectonica, which designed Brickell City Centre. Rainwater collects in five cisterns and is recycled for mechanical systems and other uses.
Underground parking includes about 2,600 spaces for the entire project with entrances away from pedestrian areas, including one “as close to I-95 as possible, Cotter said. The garage is essentially a “big bathtub,” protected from flooding, heat and other damage.
Owens said Swire has about 10 years worth of work ahead for the next two phases of Brickell City Centre, which includes a 1,049-foot super-tall condo tower. The developer will work on the final design for the tower over the next two years before it moves forward. Other completed components of Brickell City Centre include condo towers Reach and Rise, two office buildings and East, Hotel, which opened in May. Swire also owns land in Fort Lauderdale, catty corner to All Aboard’s new station, but has no immediate development plans for that site.
Completing Brickell City Centre’s first phase runs almost parallel to Owens’ retirement date of January 2017. Kieran Bowers, general manager of Hong Kong’s Cityplaza, will take over as president of Swire Properties and Owens will stay on the board primarily as an adviser.
“I like to say I’m going to turn over the keys to the bus and I’m going to be sitting in the back,” Owens told TRD.