Design District Taking On Bal Harbour in Battle of the High-End Boutiques

For years the Bal Harbour Shops have not only reigned as the premier point for designer shopping in Florida, but as one of chicest in the world. But now a new challenger is about to emerge in Miami-Dade. Developer Craig Robins is quickly making his dreams of turning the Design District into a sort of high-end anti-mall a reality, and more than 30 luxury brands are expected to set up shop in the neighborhood.

The battle, as so many fashion fights do, started over Louis Vuitton bags. The French design house had for years a shop in Bal Harbour, but the high-end mall makes all of its tenants sign a contact that guarantees they won't open another location within a 20-mile radius. LV either wanted the exclusivity clause dropped or a bigger space in the mall. The mall wasn't able to accommodate them according to the Wall Street Journal, and now Vuitton is moving to the Design District. And they're bringing some friends along: several other brands owned by the LVMH Moët Hennessy company are heading south.

Here's the list of boutiques that either have opened or plan to open store fronts in the Double D culled from WSJ:

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Christian Dior
  • Fendi
  • Hermes
  • Bulgari
  • Pucci
  • De Beers
  • Celine
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs
  • Cartier
  • Tom Ford
  • Zenga
  • Burberry

They'll be joining existing tenants like Maison Martin Margiela, Y-3, Marni, and Christian Louboutin. That's more fashion brands than an issue of Vogue.

"It brings back the street and neighborhood as a great retail destination," says Robins of the area he describes as an "anti-mall."

Though, Bal Harbour Shops is still doing just fine for itself. It's still home to fashion heavyweights like Chanel, Gucci, Lanvin, Prada, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. Plus its recently added new stores like Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.

"But, Riptide," you ask, "How will all of these stores survive in such a crappy economy?"

Well, you must be part of the 99%, because the chosen few are still spending like there's no tomorrow. Luxury retail sales are much stronger compared to regular retail sales. That's in part thanks to the new buying power of foreign tourists who come to America, and Miami in particular, to take advantage of a weak dollar.

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I guess that is great for the area (and the property value), bringing well recognize brands. It gives a glamourous touch around the district ... Unfortunately the district is missing more of an outdoor feel specially that there isn't enough restaurants around, there is nobody on the streets doing any window shopping. Even in "breakfast in tiffany" you would see Audrey Hepburn walking around eating her "petit dejeune". So much glamour without playing with the classic idea of people watching....even the glamorous need to eat in order to continue shopping ....again we find ways to create this superficial miami that has so much potential.  A business man's mind might see it differently.....

Biscayne baby
Biscayne baby

$100 per square foot rents in the DesignDistrict. $10 per square foot 2 blocks east of Biscayne in Lemon City.

Next up, Lemon City
Next up, Lemon City

Smart businessmen are renting lofts and warehouses in Lemon City just north of the Design District. Big spaces and low rents.


Robins is selling snake oil//this is a suckers bet

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