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Mall With 100% Occupancy, Tenant Waiting List Borrows $550M For Expansion

Bal Harbour Shops is a luxury mecca for Miami.

The Bal Harbour Shops in Miami take up 463K SF, but apparently, that's not enough for tenants who want in.

The mall has been fully leased for decades and has a waiting list, so its developer has taken out a $550M loan to retire an existing loan and expand by 300K SF, HFF announced this week.

MetLife Investment Management was the lender on two loans with the mall's owner, Whitman Family Development: a $150M, eight-year, fixed-rate loan and the $400M floating-rate construction facility. The HFF capital markets team, led by Executive Managing Director Manny de Zárraga, Senior Managing Director Chris Drew, Managing Director Jim Dockerty and Director Matthew McCormack, arranged the deal. 

The loan is indicative of the growth and strength of Miami’s retail real estate market, Drew said in a statement.

“As the climate shifts for many traditional retail centers across the U.S., Bal Harbour Shops maintains its position as the most successful, high-end shopping destination in Florida, and one of the most productive in the world," Drew said. "The Shops continues to experience intense demand from both existing tenants and retailers that have been waiting years to join its roster, and we are excited that this loan will allow Whitman Family Development’s expansion plan to come to fruition.”

The Whitman family has roots in Miami Beach from the early 1900s. They helped develop Espanola Way and sold the land where the Fontainebleau Hotel now sits. Stanley Whitman (who died in 2017) founded Bal Harbour Shops in 1965. 

Bal Harbour Shops is already home to Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany & Co. and more. The expansion will add 20K SF to Neiman Marcus, create 57K SF for a Barneys New York, and add a three-story promenade and grand entrance.

The deal suggests that while traditional retail undergoes a tectonic shift fueled by e-commerce, the appetite for luxury retail, especially in international gateway cities like Miami, is strong. The Aventura Mall, another luxury outlet, just added a 315K SF wing and the $4B American Dream Miami, billed as the largest mall in the country, is in development. Brickell City Centre, another high-end mall, of which Whitman Family Development is a co-developer, opened its first phase in 2017.

"People [in Miami] shop like I’ve not ever seen," Debora Overholt, who used to be in charge of leasing at Brickell City Centre and is now leasing up Via Mizner in Boca Raton, told Bisnow last year. "They’re not sensitive to price. They load up and go ... It’s a whole different type of mentality of shopping in Miami. Part of it is the high ratio of visitors to locals. Visitors spend three times as much as locals. But everyone [in Miami] wants to have a certain status. They want the brand that’s important to them.”