A block-long construction site buzzes with activity between Northeast 41st and 42nd Streets at a site dubbed Paradise Plaza, where 60 more ultra-luxury, brand-name stores will open at the end of next year or early 2017.
Towering cranes and closed roads clearly paint the picture of an evolving neighborhood to any passerby in the Design District – Miami’s newest shopping mecca rising from the dirt.
Dacra, the Miami Beach-based developer credited with much of the neighborhood’s transformation, is working on its second phase of development that will duplicate the open-air, two-story shopping plaza called Palm Court on Northwest 39th Street. The store-lined passageway – Paseo Ponti – that connects pedestrians from the street to the existing plaza will be extended across city blocks from Palm Court to the new Paradise Plaza.
Fifty of the sixty stores planned for Dacra’s first phase are now complete. Another five should be open by Christmas, with the remainder opening early next year, said Steven Gretenstein, VP & COO at Dacra.
Cartier, Hermès and Louis Vuitton are among flagship stores now open.
Dacra also has a 119-key boutique hotel in the works. Shovels will dig into the ground on the northwest corner of Northeast 39th Street and Northeast First Avenue early next year to begin construction of the 10-story building.
“Nobody, really, is putting a shovel in the ground,” said Lyle Chariff, except the projects in which his real estate firm, Chariff Realty Group, and Dacra are involved with.
He went on to list the several reasons why cranes and closed roads dot the neighborhood’s façade.
On the southeastern corner of the district, Amicon Construction is busy working on what will soon house the Brown Jordan furniture company’s second US location. The land at 3625 NE Second Avenue was previously owned by Chariff Realty Group, but recently sold, Mr. Chariff said.
The 6,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by architect Touzet Studio, will have a 3,000-square-foot rooftop entertainment deck. Although the building is composed of only two stories, with high ceilings, the exterior is closer to six stories in height.
“It’s the first design of that caliber on that part of the district,” he said, adding that the store is to be completed by Art Basel in December.
About one block to the north, on the corner of Northeast 38th Street and Northeast Second Avenue, another piece of land recently sold by Chariff will be home to a two-story building comprised of 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail, an 8,000-square-foot mezzanine and a rooftop deck; also designed by Touzet Studio. The former Power Studios site sold for $14 million to New York City-based real estate firm Wharton Equity Partners, Mr. Chariff said.
A large tenant described as a “design-type business” is in negotiations for the whole top floor and rooftop, he said.
Moving closer to the district’s center-of-action, a mixed-use seven-story commercial building called Design 41 is rising on Northeast 41st Street. The building will offer office suites ranging from 1,500 square feet to a full 9,000-square-foot floor, “high-street” retail space, and an 11,000 square-foot rooftop restaurant and lounge, according to the project’s website.
The project is a joint venture of Florida Overseas Investment Center and Design District Development Partners LLC. The building is to be approved for occupancy during the third quarter of 2016, said Dan Fickett, Design 41 creative director.
Another building is under construction on the same street, next to the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Mr. Chariff said. The new “state-of-the-art museum-quality building” will be nestled between the de la Cruz and Institute of Contemporary Art’s new location. Currently the project is tenant-less.
The ICA broke ground on its new 37,500-square-foot building at 61 NE 41st St. on Monday.
Another construction project is ongoing at 73 NE 40th St., on a site that’s been under the same ownership for 35 years. The owner knocked down the former business and is rebuilding a 4,500-square-foot retail store with a rooftop terrace, Mr. Chariff said.
“Those are the actual buildings being built as we speak,” he said. “Most of the people that own stuff or have acquired stuff are kind of in the planning stages and working on entitlements. As they do that, they’re hoping and expecting that the rates in the market will go up.”