July 24, 2014

Architecture

A Grand Design for Downtown Miami

Y3 Boutique
Y3 boutique in Miami’s Design District

The 18-square-block area just north of downtown Miami known as the Miami Design District long ago secured its reputation as a place to shop for high-style furnishings, view art collections and enjoy design. Now the district is developing a reputation as Miami-Dade’s next culinary hot spot.

Craig Robins
“I think we’re leaving this era where ... people were willing to spend money indiscriminately and luxury was defined by cost.”

— Craig Robins, Dacra CEO
[Photo: Martien Mulder]

Craig Robins, whose Dacra owns most of the Design District real estate, says, “While art and design attract really interesting and diverse groups of people, it doesn’t really make the neighborhood vibrant in terms of daily activity and foot traffic.”

To change that, Robins started bringing in restaurants such as Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Fratelli Lyon, Brosia and Pacific Time.

Now Robins hopes to create a fashion destination. Four brands recently opened stores there: In December, Italian fashion house Marni opened its first U.S. location there, and Miami icon Tomas Maier — also the creative director of Italian leather goods maker Bottega Veneta — opened a store. They joined the recently opened En Avance and Y3 boutiques.

Robins sees the Design District as an ideal location for edgy brands that “are more about style and appeal to a smaller, more sophisticated type of clientele.” He hopes to have a total of 10 fashion retailers by the end of 2009.

The faltering economy could make it hard to persuade companies to invest in a new location. But Robins hopes they’ll be attracted to the atmosphere of the Design District — as well as retail rents that average $60 a square foot, compared to $300 in Bal Harbour or $150 on Lincoln Road.

Tags: Miami-Dade, Housing/Construction

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