Updated 5 yearss ago
Owners of Bal Harbour Shops say they are close to a deal that will allow them to expand.
|Bal Harbour Shops Average Sales
Matthew Whitman Lazenby, the mall's operating partner and the third generation of his family involved in the property, attributes the numbers to pent-up post-recession demand for luxury goods and more foreign and domestic tourists in its market area, which stretches as far north as Palm Beach.
Aspiring tenants want in, but because the mall is full, they can wait up to five years for space to become available. Some retailers in search of larger spaces have left Bal Harbour for other locations. The 46-year-old mall hasn't expanded since it added its second level in 1983. For decades, the Whitman family has been trying to buy adjacent property. Now, Lazenby says, "we're near the finish line" in negotiations with the Church by the Sea, which owns a nearby parcel.
If the deal goes through, Lazenby hopes to add about 200,000 square feet, including a luxury dine-in movie theater and a banquet facility. It would represent about a 50% increase in retail space.
The surrounding community has mixed feelings about the plans. The movie theater and banquet hall are controversial because they will have a higher impact on traffic and parking. "We believe that the ballroom and the movie theater will ... help the retail," Lazenby says. "But at the end of the day, if the community doesn't want them, if the village council doesn't want them, we're not going to do them."