WATCH: In the retail ice age, why build a supermall?

TRD talks challenges of retail megaprojects like American Dream Miami on Fox Business

Jun.June 21, 2018 08:45 AM

Retail nationwide is getting crushed. Thousands of stores have shuttered, with analysts predicting doom for hundreds more. But in the midst of all this turmoil, Florida is about to get a new megamall. How does that work?

The Real Deal‘s Hiten Samtani sat down with Fox Business’ Stuart Varney to discuss the American Dream Miami project, which is being developed by Triple Five Group, the Edmonton, Canada-based developer behind the infamous American Dream Meadowlands in New Jersey.

“This is an era of unprecedented growth in e-commerce,” Samtani said. “You’re seeing retail stores shutter all across the country – there’s one estimate that says 70 million square feet will be available – vacant – by the end of the year. In the midst of all this, they’re planning to build a 6.2 million-square-foot mall? I can’t make sense of that.”

Samtani speculated that the playbook would be for the developer, Triple Five Group, to push the state for public subsidies, something that was employed at the American Dream Meadowlands– a 16-year boondoggle that is estimated to cost over $4 billion and has yet to open.

He talked about how the developers were adapting to the new reality of retail by putting greater emphasis on entertainment and experiential space, which will now make up the bulk of the project. American Dream Miami’s plans include a 16-story indoor ski slope, a 20-slide water park, a 14-screen 3D movie theater and a performing arts center, in addition to the shopping component.

“To bring in customers, they need to offer movies, restaurants, entertainment. With the hope that some people go to the stores.”

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