Sunday, April 12, 2015

Skeptical: Is the Design District going to work? … by gimleteye

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?


Geniusofdespair said...

...and it is easy to park on the street down there. I was in the District at 5 pm last night. Only one street is parked up, around the block --- easy.

Anonymous said...

Naples works. Why couldn't the design district? Just needs more eating establishments and people.

Anonymous said...

My interior designer already bemoans the loss of the good old stores inclusive the experienced sales personnel.

Anonymous said...

Zero-sum game. Where are they cannibalizing sales from? South America? Bal Harbour? It is much easier to do a felony robbery in the Design District than in on the sand bar islands.

Anonymous said...

These stores got suckered into believing Miami and the beaches has enough wealth to support a flagship store. Problem is they signed long term leases. They cannot cut and run. The retail lease world is horrible. The customers will never show up. The twenty shell owners of the $20 million dollar condos never had any intention of living here. A total shell game.

Skip Van Cel said...

I was just there last night and drive through the area a few times a week. Last nights crowds were really enjoying the atmosphere and taking lots of pictures. Unfortunately, few of the stores were open. My bet is that it will work. Robins and LVMH have created something more akin to worth avenue or Rodeo Drive and being that it is so very accessible to all of the money downtown and on the beach the better question is, will bal harbour survive? The scale and feel of the place is incredible and will be nothing like the monstrosity called Brickell City Center.
They definitely need more restaurants and for places to stay open later. I Distinctly Remember people questioning whether or not Target and Midtown would succeed. The naysayers had a field day then, but today we know the answer is very different than what was predicted.

Anonymous said...

Craig Robins is 15 years into a 30 year plan. Too early to judge. Don't forget most of the stores are owned by LMVH, his financial backer.