Third Publix, retail, restaurants due in $70 million west Brickell center
By Sherri C. Ranta
A third Publix and four new restaurants will expand retail and dining options in Miami's financial district when the $70 million Mary Brickell Village opens in 2003 along South Miami Avenue.
P.F. Chang's China Bistro, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, The Redstone American Grill and Starbucks will join the grocery chain in the 192,000-square-foot residential-retail center, said George Giebel, senior vice president of Constructa, developers of Mary Brickell Village. The project is planned for 5.2 acres between Southwest Ninth and 10th streets.
"The concept of the project is a lifestyle center for the whole family and to focus on the needs of the community on Brickell," Mr. Giebel said, "not to create another mall."
Small specialty stores related to home life - furniture, home and garden accessories, books and clothing - are targeted for the two-level center, officials said. APCOA Standard Parking, one of the nation's largest parking management companies, will run the 810-space parking deck.
Mary Brickell Village partners are Paris-based Constructa, an international full service real estate firm; Brasilinvest Group, one of the 100 largest privately owned corporations in Brazil, and retired racecar driver and businessman Emerson Fittipaldi.
Constructa is not new to Miami. The firm developed and manages CocoWalk in Coconut Grove and Ocean Steps, a 40,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Miami Beach.
In addition to the retail component of Mary Brickell Village, Mr. Giebel said, developers plan to build a 25-story residential tower, still in the planning stages.
"We're considering a rental tower," he said. "The original idea three years ago was a hotel tower. But market dynamics change. Right now, market trends on Brickell favor multifamily."
Mr. Giebel said the area is ripe for retail. "Four or five years ago, if you talked to developers, Brickell was not ready for retail. I don't think that is true anymore. The project has proven, by its sheer interest and commitments that we have in place, that there is a demand for commercial development in downtown Miami."
Construction is just days away, Constructa officials said last week, as they await permits from the City of Miami. Workers are completing prep work on the site that includes relocating and saving about 39 exotic trees. Some of the larger trees, a banyan and gumbo-limbo for example, are integral to the design, officials said.
The project will wrap around Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe and incorporate in its design the north side of Allen Morris Park.
Publix officials have said their new 30,000-square-foot store will be a flagship, Mr. Giebel said, where the Lakeland-based chain will try new food concepts. A 27,000-square-foot Publix at Brickell Village, 134 SW 13th St., opened in 1996. A second, Publix at Miami River, a 27,000-square foot-store proposed for Southwest Third Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, awaits city permits.
The 13th Street store does a tremendous volume, said Harvey Taylor, who built and sold it.
The new store, he said, "will take the load off the Coral Way Publix and traffic problems there. The store doesn't just deal with the residents. It deals with the office workers on their way home and coming to work. I think it's a welcome addition to the area."
Veteran Miami restaurateur Steven J. Perricone, owner of Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe, said the new competition would bring more people to the Brickell area.
"People always like to try new restaurants. I'm not afraid of new restaurants. The more choices people have, generally the more people come to the area."
Mr. Perricone opened his Italian specialty restaurant at 15 SE 10th St. six years ago.
"I think I was a little bit ahead of my time. They told me I'd do lunch but never do dinner or weekends." Now the business has a healthy lunch, dinner and weekend crowd, he said. "I do 300 to 400 dinners on Fridays and Saturdays."
Mr. Perricone is also a partner in the proposed residential-retail Flatiron Building on South Miami Avenue between Southeast 10th and 11th streets.
Of the new restaurants planned at Mary Brickell Village, two are new to Miami-Dade, officials said. Redstone American Grill, based in Wayzata, MN, is the brainchild of Dean Vlahos, founder of Champp's, a sports bar concept of the 1980s.
The 8,000-square-foot Miami spot will be the company's fourth restaurant and the only one in Florida, said Lori Frazier, director of training. She said the restaurant specializes in classic rotisserie chicken over an open fire and is known for its blazing bonfire at the entrance.
"We're extraordinarily impressed with the market and the potential" in Miami, Ms. Frazier said.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Mary Brickell Village officials say, will be a retro supper club serving fresh seafood. The 8,500-square-foot design will resemble an ocean liner.
The project's 1,500-square-foot Starbucks will be the fifth in the downtown Miami area, said Keith Schantz, real estate manager for Florida.
"We had been looking in the Brickell area for quite some time," he said. "They approached us at the same time as we were looking," he said.
Starbucks also plans to open an outlet this fall in the Barclays Financial Center on Brickell Avenue and has more than 20 stores in Miami-Dade County.
Scottsdale, AZ-based P.F. Chang's China Bistro will open its third Miami-Dade restaurant in Mary Brickell Village, said Laura Cherry, company spokesperson. "We've been very well-received in Florida," she said. The company has locations in North Miami and in The Falls, a shopping complex off US 1.