Bal Harbour Shops submits new development agreement for revised expansion plans

Rendering of Bal Harbour Shops
Rendering of Bal Harbour Shops

Updated, 12:48 p.m., March 10: After years of back-and-forth with the village of Bal Harbour, Whitman Family Development has again submitted plans for its $400 million expansion of Bal Harbour Shops, including a new development agreement that outlines community benefits. 

The proposal comes about two months after Whitman withdrew its offer to buy the Bal Harbour Village Hall site for $15.6 million. The latest round of plans limits the expansion to land that Whitman already owns, and would increase the retail footprint by 340,387 square feet, plus additional parking, which comes to an increase of about 27 percent.

Barneys New York would open its first flagship store in the Southeastern U.S. as part of the project, in addition to new stores, restaurants and upgrades to anchor tenant Neiman Marcus.

The $400 million renovation and expansion of the high-end shops at 9700 Collins Avenue also encompasses about $100 million in community benefits, according to Whitman. That includes funding for a new Bal Harbour Village Hall and parking garage, funding to convert a village-owned parking lot into a public waterfront park, money for the village’s Art in Public Places program and improvements along 96th Street and Collins Avenue. The shops would also give the village the nearby Fairfield and SunTrust properties, which total 2 acres.

“With more than $100 million in community benefits on the table, and a plan that fits entirely within our current property, our hope is that the Village Council will now give this plan a fair, thoughtful review,” president and CEO Matthew Whitman Lazenby said in a press release.

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As recent as last May, Whitman submitted plans without the village hall site.

The expansion plans that involved buying the village hall site were strongly opposed by Assistant Mayor Patricia Cohen and by some residents and other activists who had submitted two petitions that would make it more difficult for Bal Harbour Shops to expand. The petitions were later invalidated by both the village and the county on grounds that the signatures lacked affadavits.

Whitman had also filed two lawsuits against the village and Cohen, which were both dismissed in late February, Miami-Dade Circuit records show.

Bal Harbour, meanwhile, increased its footprint when it purchased the site of the former Church by the Sea for $30 million in February of 2016.

The village council will vote on the new plans next month. – Katherine Kallergis