Developer of American Dream Miami Pushes Back Projected Opening Date
Triple Five Worldwide Switches Up Tenant Mix
American Dream Miami, expected to be the nation’s largest mixed-use mega mall, will feature more entertainment and less retail when it’s scheduled to open in 2025, about two years behind schedule.
The project is on 174 acres at Interstate 75 and Florida’s Turnpike in northwest Miami-Dade County and was originally estimated to open in 2023, but Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide said the delay is because of construction for a new turnpike and I-75 interchanges.
Triple Five continues to work with local, state and federal officials to finalize plans for the infrastructure additions. American Dream can’t open until the turnpike interchange does, according to Triple Five.
Triple Five, which opened an American Dream in New Jersey in October, said it plans to break ground in Florida in 2021 and invest between $4.5 billion and $5 billion in the project, which is projected to draw 30 million visitors a year.
The 5 million-square-foot development is expected to include a mix of 65% entertainment and 35% retail, which is a switch from when plans were first announced.
“Initially, plans had called for 65% retail and 35% entertainment, but those plans were modified to reflect today’s consumer preferences,” Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer for Triple Five, said in a statement to CoStar News.
Diaz de la Portilla added that the project will be a “game-changer for Miami-Dade County,” and it also could be transformational for the nation’s retail industry that’s adapting to the onslaught of online shopping.
“Retailers are being increasingly judicious with expansions and with the square footage of their stores,” Dave Preston, executive managing director for retail services at Colliers International in Miami, said in an interview. “They want smaller footprints, so it’s not surprising that American Dream is switching up their plans.”
Plans for the development include about 30 rides and attractions, including an indoor ski slope, Ferris wheel, ice rink, movie theater and live performance venues, as well as 2,000 hotel rooms.
Compared to traditional retail, “entertainment is certainly less replaceable by technology and online sales,” Preston noted.
Still, the growth and performance of the U.S. entertainment sector are worth watching because the rate of space being added is outpacing consumer spending in the entertainment segment, Alexander Levy, a consultant with CoStar Market Analytics in Boston, wrote recently.
“While certainly a source of strong demand in the retail marketplace today, there are concerns of oversaturation in the entertainment sphere,” Levy wrote. “Ultimately, the true threshold of oversaturation is difficult to pinpoint, but the trend in leasing is creating a more competitive environment worth monitoring at the site-specific level.”
Delays also were a factor at American Dream in New Jersey, which is 3 million square feet. Triple Five took control of that project after other developers failed to complete it. The first phase of the $5 billion development opened in October, though the developer recently postponed indefinitely the opening of an indoor water park.
Miami-Dade County commissioners approved American Dream Miami in May 2018, despite Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava’s concerns about “horrendous traffic” and “mostly low paid jobs.”
Diaz de la Portilla said it’s too soon in the development process to address financing, though he told CoStar News last year that financing shouldn’t be a problem, given Triple Five’s experience building American Dream in New Jersey, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada.
At American Dream in New Jersey, the developer said Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan completed a sale of $1.1 billion in tax-exempt bonds to go with a $1.67 billion construction loan from the two Wall Street firms.
Triple Five said it will release new renderings of the Miami project in the second half of 2020, when the developer is expected to submit a detailed site plan.