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Industry News

Florida mall finds success in continual evolution

January 15, 2020

“Despite the struggles that physical stores face, the number of enclosed malls in the country has grown, clocking in last year at 1,170, which was higher than at any point in the last 50 years, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday. “Some malls have gone out of business and have even been demolished, but others continue to take their place, according to the trade group, suggesting that the death of the mall has been exaggerated, as Aventura can bear out.”

The newspaper cites ICSC in a story about the 37-year-old Aventura (Fla.) Mall, which has remained one of the country’s most profitable retail properties by constantly reinvesting in itself. “Human beings are social creatures, which is why they go to Starbucks even when they can make coffee at home,” said Turnberry Associates Chairman and CEO Jackie Soffer, as quoted in the article. Turnberry co-owns that property with Simon. “When the Internet hit, brick-and-mortar retailers decided to spend their surplus on the web and did not spend it on their stores, which was a mistake,” she said. “They put themselves in harm’s way.”

Aventura Mall, for its part, has managed to stay out of harm’s way by keeping up with consumer trends. The 2.5 million-square-foot property has grown in size by some 50 percent since 1983. Simon and Turnberry completed the center’s $214 million third expansion in 2017. That makeover converted the food court into the Treats Food Hall (an indoor-outdoor space that serves alcohol past midnight) and also added a 700-person space for weddings, fashion shows and art exhibits.

The mall’s management “continues to evolve and innovate about how a mall should be in the 21st century, which is beyond just a destination for shopping,” said Kenny Minzberg, a vice president at online apparel brand Psycho Bunny, as reported in the article. Psycho Bunny opened its first physical store at that mall.

“They have done a real good job about not making this seem like a boring strip mall out in suburbia,” said Alex Rudolph, a partner of restaurant concept Tap42, which opened at Aventura Mall in 2018. “This mall is just different.”

The center is one of several large, luxury-focused properties that are thriving, according to Kevin Cody, a senior consultant at CoStar, as quoted in the article. Among those are Fashion Show mall, in Las Vegas; King of Prussia, near Philadelphia; Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.; South Coast Plaza, in Costa Mesa, Calif.; and Westfield Century City, in Los Angeles.

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor, Commerce + Communities Today

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