Miami Today offers a glowing report from the developer's point of view. The world's luxury brands, fortified through a business deal between Craig Robins' DACRA and LVMH, one of the world's top luxury brand consolidators, have been pumping hundreds of millions into the Design District.
Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Burberry, Dolce & Gabanna, Givenchy, Harry Winston, Hublot, Tiffany & Co., Tod’s, Valentino, Versace, Zadig & Voltaire and Zegna, Helmut Lang and Theory, Hermes, Cartier. Dior, Armani, Prada, Celine, Marc Jacobs; these are a few of the names cited in the Miami Today report.
For an observer accustomed to Miami's fickle nature, the idea that throngs of shoppers will be attracted to the re-tooled Design District looks … well … uncertain. I periodically drive by the retail wonderland and wonder where are all the shoppers. The area is empty most days.
Craig Robins is a visionary. Who can argue with his success, judging from the investment pouring in?
On the other hand, many of the shops have been open for months while the trim is finished out on the neighborhood. Without a mass of foot traffic, the stores topped off with luxury goods seem like model condo units.
Maybe I'm wrong. This summer in the heat, humidity and rain, will shoppers be able to jump from a covered garage to covered walkways and never be too far from air conditioning? Isn't that what consumers demand in Florida?
Does the Design District make retail sense or is it just bait for luxury brands that flock like exotic birds and descend together, landing in a new environment to forage?