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Bal Harbour Shops sweetens offer to village in drive for expansion

The owner of the Bal Harbour Shops has modified its $400 million expansion plans to provide benefits for the village of Bal Harbour, including the construction of public buildings and donated land.

Whitman Family Development said its proposed development agreement would provide more than $100 million in benefits to the village. In exchange, it wants approval to expand the mall by 340,387 square feet on its current footprint.

The Bal Harbour Shops already totals 463,477 square feet, so this would be a major expansion. The developer would add a Barneys New York flagship store, upgrade its existing Neiman Marcus store, and add shops and restaurants, including an open-air dining pavilion on the second floor. A parking garage would be built to replace surface parking.

Zyscovich Architects designed the plans.

Bal Harbour Shops has many luxury retailers and is regularly among the nation’s top malls for sales per square foot. However, opposition groups in Bal Harbour are concerned that expanding the mall would worsen traffic.

After listening to those concerns, Whitman Family Development sweetened its offer to the village. Its development agreement would include funding for:

  • An environmentally-sustainable, hurricane-protected village hall and public parking garage to replace the current village hall.
  • A gift of 2 acres of the nearby Fairfield and SunTrust properties for any use the village chooses.
  • The redevelopment of the village’s public works lot into a waterfront park.
  • The village’s Art in Public Places program, a new public plaza at the mall, and pedestrian enhancements such as wider sidewalks and landscaping along 96th Street and Collins Avenue.

The developer said the value of its expansion would increase the Bal Harbour Shops’ annual tax contribution to make up about 20 percent of the village’s budget.

“The development agreement we submitted to the village this week will contribute generously to our hometown of Bal Harbour Village and help the shops build on our proud 50-plus-year legacy,” said Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and CEO of Whitman Family Development. “With more than $100 million in community benefits on the table, and a plan that fits entirely within our current property, our hope is that the Village Council will now give this plan a fair, thoughtful review. Ultimately, we aim to deliver enhancements that offer new retail and dining options, and better serve our longtime village neighbors and valued clients.”

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