The Weekly Dirt: South Florida developers go shopping at the mall

Electra America, BH, Codina and Aimco among RE players working on mall-to-resi projects

Weekly Dirt: South Florida Developers Find Land at the Mall
From left: Codina Partners' Armando Codina; Aimco's Wes Powell; Electra America's Joe Lubeck; Southplace City Center project at 20505 South Dixie Highway in Cutler Bay (bottom); the closed Sears store at Westland Mall at 1625 West 49th Street, Hialeah (middle); 901-927 North Federal Highway (top) (Getty, Codina Partners, Aimco, Electra America, Google Maps)

Get in, developers. We’re going shopping.

At least seven redevelopments of indoor malls are in the works, fueled by the demand for housing. Electra America, BH Group, Aimco, Codina Partners, Midtown Equities, Jericho and Kimco Realty are all playing in the space, Francisco Alvarado reports

It’s a win-win for struggling malls and developers looking to cash in on opportunities to fill the need for housing — a need that was exacerbated by inbound migration during the pandemic. Each use benefits the other: Built-in retail and restaurant options can generate a steady source of revenue for the landlord with tenants living onsite. 

Electra America and BH have one of the biggest such projects in the works, a $1 billion redevelopment of Southland Mall into Southplace City Center. The south Miami-Dade property will be transformed into a mixed-use project with nearly 4,400 apartments and condos, a 150-room hotel, 60,000 square feet of medical office space, 150,000 square feet of retail outparcels and a community amphitheater. The existing 809,000-square-foot mall would remain and undergo a major renovation. 

At that project, once Ross Dress For Less moves from an outparcel to the indoor shopping center, that site will become a 470-unit apartment building with retail and parking. Electra America is in talks with other apartment developers that want to build their own projects at Southplace, Electra’s Joe Lubeck said. 

“We saw this as a unique opportunity for us in a growing portion of Miami-Dade County. There’s definitely a lack of quality retail, quality food and beverage options and a significant demand for residential,” he said. 

Developers could also be incentivized by the Live Local Act, as long as they set aside at least 40 percent of their residential units for workforce housing. 

What we’re thinking about: I’m starting to see more planned standalone multifamily projects converted to condos, many of which will be short-term rental-friendly developments. Are these a form of condo-hotels? Are you working on any? Send me a note at


Residential: Developer Matthew Rosenblatt sold the waterfront spec mansion at 9520 West Broadview Drive in Bay Harbor Islands for $22 million, a town record. Matthew J. Bullock purchased the 8,700-square-foot home. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Commercial: Michael Stern’s JDS Development Group paid $61.2 million for the half-acre development site at 888 Brickell Avenue in Miami, where the firm plans a Dolce & Gabbana condo-hotel tower. Grupo Mezerhane, led by Mashud Mezzerhane, sold the site, which includes a seven-story office building. 


Weekly Dirt: South Florida Developers Find Land at the Mall
(Jon Kohler & Associates)

An island estate in Port St. Joe, a Panhandle town in Florida, hit the market for $50 million. It includes 26 private waterfront bungalows, a four-story clubhouse, pool and a 1,200-foot cedar boardwalk. The seven-acre property is listed with Jon Kohler of Jon Kohler & Associates.

Weekly Dirt: South Florida Developers Find Land at the Mall
(Jon Kohler & Associates)

A thing we’ve learned 

About 15,800 condos on the market in South Florida are 30 years old or older, and fewer than 3,000 are newer, according to ISG World’s first quarter report. Condo listings are on the rise, as some sellers may not want to deal with the rising costs tied to insurance, repairs and special assessments. 

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • Insurance regulators are investigating at least 19 insurance executives from now-insolvent insurance companies who took top jobs at other insurers, a possible violation of state law, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Florida bans officers and directors from such companies from taking on similar roles at new insurers without proving they weren’t responsible for the failure of their previous companies. If the state finds that they were, it could revoke the executives’ new employers’ ability to write policies in Florida if they don’t step down. 
  • Former Deputy City Attorney George Wysong was named Miami City Attorney, replacing Victoria Mendez, who was removed from her position in April. Mendez is being sued and is under investigation by the Florida Bar over allegations that she used her position to help coordinate a house-flipping scheme with her husband, according to the Miami Herald
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that sets aside $200 million for the My Safe Florida Home program, providing aid to homeowners who are hardening their homes against tropical storms and hurricanes. That includes state grants matching up to $10,000 in roofing materials, exterior doors and storm shutters, and aid for low-income residents. He also expanded the program to include condos, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.