Macy’s to shutter historic downtown Miami store amid rash of closures

Former Burdines store has been there since 1917

Macy's downtown Miami store (Credit: Phillip Pessar/Flickr)
Macy's downtown Miami store (Credit: Phillip Pessar/Flickr)

Macy’s will shutter its downtown Miami store this quarter as part of a new wave of closures nationwide, the retailer announced Thursday.

The company plans to close 11 stores early this year, including one in Gainesville and four in California. The restructuring will save the department store chain about $300 million a year, according to a press release. The move is part of 100 planned closures announced in August 2016, a spokesperson said.

Macy’s downtown Miami location, which it leases from New York-based Aetna Realty, was originally a Burdines store. In 1956, Burdines merged with Federated Department Stores, which also owned Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and other stores. By 2005, Federated had brought all its Burdines outposts under the Macy’s brand.

Miami businessman Richard Ashby leased the 48,000-square-foot building at 22 East Flagler Street to Burdines beginning in 1917 for about $30,000 a year. Records show Aetna paid $15.6 million for the property in 2013. Aetna could not immediately be reached for comment, and the Macy’s spokesperson declined to comment on details of the lease.

The store is expected to close by mid-March, the spokesperson said.

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Macy’s has eight nearby locations, including at Aventura Mall, Dadeland and in Miami Beach.

The future of the Miami Beach location is also in question. In 2016, its leasehold on the store off Lincoln Road hit the market with more than 30 years left on its lease. The 99,000-square-foot building, at 1675 Meridian Avenue, was also the former home of Burdines.

The downtown Miami location, which JLL broker Zach Winkler called an “outdated model,” could be split up and renovated with new glass storefronts to make it more modern. “You haven’t seen a lot of change in this specific part of downtown yet,” he said. “The owner has the opportunity to really create something special here.”

The site is in the heart of the Flagler District, where Moishe Mana has spent more than $258 million on properties he plans to redevelop into retail, office and residential projects. His 42 Flagler-area properties total 9.2 acres of land and more than 1 million square feet.

The city of Miami is also working on restarting a $13 million streetscape improvement project on Flagler, which calls for wider sidewalks, shade trees, new lighting and more, explained Miami Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Alyce Robertson.

“Macy’s didn’t really change in the last 10 years,” she said after news of the upcoming closure, “and our population did.”

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