Gables mall ready to open one more time
By Marilyn Bowden
A mall at Coral Gables' doorstep that has failed three times in 12 years is nearly fully leased for re-opening, and officials are seeking reconstruction permits to capitalize on a residential boom.
Miracle Marketplace, 3301 Coral Way, the latest incarnation of the original Miracle Center, is to be open to the street. Working drawings are being fine-tuned, said Michael Mouriz, principal of Keystone Homes, and "we hope to be in for a permit by the end of the year. As soon as we get that, we will begin demolitions and start building."
Mr. Mouriz is in a joint venture with James Schlesinger of Talisman Cos., which resurrected Cutler Ridge Mall as Southland Mall.
Miracle Center, designed by Arquitectonica International, opened in 1989 with plans to add residences above it. But after eight years, it was reinvented as Paseos Mall, a Spanish Colonial shopping center with pushcarts, kiosks and specialty stores. That, too, failed.
In 2001, Swerdlow Group bought the site to convert the mall to offices for high-tech companies, but the dot.com crash scuttled those plans.
"Many factors are in place right now that didn't exist in the past," Mr. Mouriz said. "Coral Way itself is a very different world than it was a few years ago. Big-box retail has taken over, and with all the residential construction, there are a lot more people."
Bally Total Fitness gym, the only remaining tenant, will expand from 28,000 square feet to 50,000, Mr. Schlesinger said, and be joined by Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Office Max, Ulta, Designer Shoes Warehouse, Pay Less Shoes, PetsMart and Sweet Tomatoes.
Keystone is adding to the residential boom with Villas of Coral Way across the street. The first phase is done, Mr. Mouriz said, with all but a few units sold to end users, and Keystone last week began demolition for Villas II next door.