Masks, one-way signs, spread-out open-air dining. Malls, stores and restaurants are reopening in South Florida, and changes are evident amid the pandemic.
The Real Deal’s South Florida Managing Editor Ina Cordle toured the Miami Design District with Craig Robins, Bal Harbour Shops with Carolyn Travis and Aventura Mall with Jackie Soffer on Saturday, May 23. After two months of forced closures of non-essential businesses and stay-at-home orders, shoppers were ready to venture out.
Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, said about 60 percent of the stores in the Design District are open, with more opening each day. Restaurants will be phased in. During the lockdown, he offered tenants the option to defer three months rent, allowing them to amortize the amount over the term of their leases. And he has five new leases in the works, including one for the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Itamae.
Whitman Family Development’s Travis said 85 stores are open at Bal Harbour Shops with the remainder opening soon. The open-air shopping center has created new signage to direct shoppers one way on aisles, and is letting restaurants spread out in the courtyards. Sant Ambroeus, based in New York, will open its first Miami-area restaurant there soon.
And Soffer, chairman and CEO of Turnberry Associates, said that despite the lack of tourists in South Florida, local shoppers are taking up the slack at Aventura Mall. Long lines were visible at Zara, Louis Vuitton and other stores.
“People obviously want to go out, and they want to have experiences, and there’s only so much experience you can have at home at a computer….” Soffer said. “Shoppers want to be back in stores and diners want to be back in restaurants.”