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New Retailers Flowing To Lincoln Road After Price Correction

Lincoln Road is getting new tenants.

Lincoln Road stretches across the barrier island of Miami Beach, from the Atlantic Ocean on one side to Biscayne Bay on the other. Dotted with a koi pond, and Art Deco architectural elements, it is one of the country's premier retail high streets. 

But as rents boomed over the past decade, independent shops gave way to huge brands. Nike, Apple, H&M and J. Crew all have a presence on the street. Rents peaked at $300 per SF in 2018, leading to concerns about vacancies. 

But since last summer, prices have come down and 24 new tenants have come to the street, including nine that were announced yesterday. 

"Base rent is in the $200-$225 net range," said Lyle Stern, president of retail leasing and consulting firm Koniver Stern and board member of the quasi-governmental Business Improvement District that brings together the 85 or so landlords on the street.

Showfields — a concept containing 40 to 50 pop-up shops — will open in a two-story site at 530 Lincoln Road in May. Concepts there include a speak-easy bar and a theater for live performances. British shoe seller Dr. Martens is opening at 1620 Drexel Ave. this month, and online mattress seller Casper will follow with a brick-and-mortar store. 

Colombian concept Andrés Carne de Res, a so-called clubstaurant, is among the new restaurants coming, as is an outpost of chef Michael Schwartz's Harry’s Pizzeria and a brand from Harlem, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar. Havana 1957 plans to open a ventanita, with coffee and pastries to go, later this year across from the Lincoln Eatery. Ice cream shop Paletas Morelia expects to open this spring at 1664 Lennox.

Those upcoming additions will join recently opened juice bar Jungle Vibes off West Avenue and Lincoln Road near Lincoln Center and Kitchenette Brasserie on the corner of Lincoln Road and Michigan Avenue. 

A spokesperson said that other Lincoln Road tenants that opened this past year include Museum of Illusions, Greats, Yoyoso, Brandy Melville, Bone Fly, Pele Soccer, MC2 Saint Barth and Moonlighter Makerspace.

Stern said that two years ago, any outdoor mall that had been open for some time felt the pain of the retail market retrenchment. Newbury Street in Boston, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and Lincoln Road all faced similar converging forces, he said. Some retailers expanded too much. Some, like Forever 21, faced bankruptcy.

"When all the smoke clears, retailers have now taken a step back and had an informed opportunity to look at Miami as a market," Stern said. "The buying power continues to be strong, and Lincoln Road has become the apparent winner."

Showfields, which debuted in New York, reached out to Koniver Stern broker Sara Wolfe when it was looking to expand beyond its first location, Stern said. He said the brand's expansion to Miami before other markets signaled confidence in the fundamentals.

International brand Time Out Magazine likewise chose Miami when it opened its popular Time Out Market food hall concept about a year ago. Miami was among the first U.S. cities, along with Boston, New York and Chicago, Time Out Market expanded to after its success with the concept in Europe.

"We recruited Brandy Melville," Stern said, after he asked his 14-year-old daughter and her friends what stores they would love to have in town and they suggested the clothing store.

Landlords have become more flexible, offering one- to three-year lease terms, allowing companies to test the market. This has in turn lured independent and fresh brands, Stern said.

He said that pedestrian counters prove that 11 million people walk on Lincoln Road each year. That, combined with a new streetscape plan by developers of New York's High Line, plus a new convention center and several new hotels on Miami Beach, all pointed to a continued positive and steady business climate for retailers.