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Miami Design District Revitalizes City’s Urban Core

Miami’s real estate market continues to boom with increased foreign investment and new condominium developments rising across the city. According to Knight Frank’s 2015 The Wealth Report and Global Cities Survey, Miami is considered the second most important city in the U.S. to the world’s wealthiest people. As international money continues to pour into the city, luxury retailers are taking notice and setting up shop. The burgeoning Miami Design District is an example of this trend and is one of the world’s most exciting new retail developments.

Located in a former blighted industrial area about 10 minutes west of South Beach, the Miami Design District is a neighborhood dedicated to innovative fashion, design, architecture and dining experiences. The Design District is now one of the most exclusive places to shop for fashion brands and interior design, and has even been compared to New York City’s Soho neighborhood and Los Angeles’ Melrose Drive.

Owned by Miami Design District Associates, a partnership between Dacra, founded and owned by entrepreneur Craig Robins, and L Real Estate, a global real estate development and investment fund, the Design District has transformed the once-overlooked area of Miami into a vibrant destination for residents and visitors.

The Design District suffered decades of urban decay in the 1980’s and 90’s, but art and design stores started opening up throughout the 2000s and the area grew in popularity. As new buildings were erected and structures were converted, several design showrooms emerged including Holly Hunt, Knoll, Poliform, Luminaire Contract, Waterworks, bulthaup and Ann Sacks, among many others. Then the art galleries and exhibition spaces started taking notice and set up shop, including Art Fusion, Artformz, Diaspora Vibe, Etra Fine Art, Galeria AQUA, Solange Rabello Art Gallery and The Moore Space.

The neighborhood became an intersection of art and design and also started attracting top architects such as Chad Oppenheim, HOK, NuHouse, and photographer Iran Issa-Khanm, which opened studios in the Design District.

Today, the Design District is an art, design, retail, and restaurant destination in Miami’s urban core. It’s home to top retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Tom Ford, Tiffany & Co., Emilio Pucci and Harry Winston. And by mid-November, just in time for the world-renowned Art Basel fair when 80,000 people are expected to flock to the Miami; more stores are set to open totaling approximately 70 new shops in the Design District. New brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and high-profile restaurants ABC Kitchen (from Jean-Georges Vongerichten) and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon are also planned.

Miami’s retail market continues to see an influx of discerning shoppers. In addition to the Design District, the city’s upscale shopping scene includes the longstanding Bal Harbour Shops in Sunny Isles, which recently announced a $400 million expansion plan. The area is fueled by foreign buyers who have purchased high-end condos including luxury fashion brand FENDI’s first branded project. Developed by the Chateau Group, FENDI Chateau Residences features 58 exclusive residences and is currently more than 80 percent sold.

Additional posh shopping developments in the works include The Mall at Miami Worldcenter, a 765,000-square-foot retail and entertainment destination anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdales, which will be developed by Forbes and Taubman. Located within the 30-acre Miami Worldcenter site, The Mall at Miami Worldcenter and PARAMOUNT Miami Worldcenter, a planned 60-story condominium tower built atop, will start construction later this fall. PARAMOUNT Miami Worldcenter is the first and only residential tower currently for sale within the 30-acre site and will feature over 500 city and bay-view residences.

These massive retail developments speak to the fact that Miami’s luxury scene is thriving and is expected to grow in the coming years. The future of the Miami Design District looks bright with construction of Phase III expected to be completed by the end of 2016. New retail offerings on the ground floor of the buildings will bring the total amount of stores in the Design District to more than 200.

Photo courtesy of: Miami Design District


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