Expanded Aventura Mall would be nation’s second largest
Written by Scott Blake on February 12, 2014
Florida’s largest shopping mall is planned to get even larger.
The owners of Aventura Mall are proposing to add a three-story, 241,000-square-foot retail wing and a seven-level parking garage to the massive shopping center north of Miami.
Aventura city officials are reviewing the plan for approval. It would be the mall’s second major expansion since 2008.
Owned and managed by Aventura-based Turnberry Associates, Aventura Mall already ranks as the one of the largest shopping malls in the US. Wikipedia ranks it third with 2.7 million square feet of retail space behind the Mall of America outside Minneapolis and the King of Prussia Mall outside Philadelphia.
Based on those figures, the proposed addition would push Aventura Mall into the No. 2 spot above the King of Prussia Mall.
Aventura Mall Venture – a joint venture of Turnberry Associates and Simon Property Group – and Turnberry Associates submitted the proposed expansion to the city in December. It currently is under administrative review, Aventura Community Development Director Joanne Carr said this week.
The proposed retail wing would be in the northeast portion of the mall between the JCPenney and Macy’s department stores, Ms. Carr said.
The proposed garage would have about 1,400 parking spaces and feature a “transit facility” for buses, shuttle vans and taxis, she said.
The city initially reviewed the plan and suggested some revisions. It is awaiting a response from the mall’s owners, she said.
If the final plan meets current zoning requirements for the site, it will only have to undergo an administrative review by city departments and their consultants. If a zoning variance is needed, it would need to be approved by a vote of a city board or boards, Ms. Carr said.
The expansion plan was submitted to the city at about the same time the mall’s owners had its mortgage raised by $770 million to be refinanced at $1.2 billion.
The loan was sold to investors as part of a commercial mortgage-backed securities trust, the South Florida Business Journal reported, but the story did not mention the proposed expansion or whether the two are related.
Telephone calls by Miami Today to the mall’s management office and its public relations firm seeking details on the expansion plan were not returned this week.
As of last September, the mall was 99.5% occupied with a mix of luxury and mass-market tenants, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Located at 19501 Biscayne Blvd. just south of the Miami-Dade/Broward county line, Aventura Mall opened in 1983. The mall was renovated in 2006 and was expanded in 2008.
The 2008 expansion cost about $125 million and included construction of a two-story, 167,000-square-foot Nordstrom department store. The project also included a three-level retail wing and a three-story parking garage.
Prior to that, Aventura Mall was expanded and repositioned, doubling its size in 1997.
According to Fitch Ratings, Aventura Mall’s tenants generated sales of about $1.4 billion in 2012. The firm said the mall draws about 28 million visits a year, making it the nation’s second-most visited mall behind the Mall of America.
The multi-level mall contains more than 300 retailers, including six anchor department stores. Blommingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Burberry, Red Valentino, Emilio Pucci and Breitling are among the mall’s retailers.
In addition, the mall features a 24-screen AMC movie theater, a variety of restaurants, and Turnberry for the Arts, which has works in a variety of mediums by renowned artists.
The mall typically draws a mix of domestic and international visitors from a 30-mile radius encompassing some of South Florida’s most affluent communities. It consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top five grossing shopping centers, according to the mall’s website.
According to a recent study, Aventura Mall shoppers spend an average of $338.40 per visit – more than four times the national shopping center average.