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Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln Road’

A renovated building and a new store are replacing the Van Dyke Cafe building

Lincoln Road was originally a forest of mangroves. It became a social center and the home of prestigious retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue thanks to Carl Fisher back in 1912. It went through many ups and downs until the 1990’s, when it was booming again and hosted many shops and restaurants, establishing itself as one of the main entertainment spots of Miami Beach. Now Lincoln Road is growing to a new phase as a few local, New York and international investors are buying properties, renovating buildings and attracting new retailers. Prices are soaring, leading to an average of $5,000 per square foot to purchase a building and of $300 per square foot to lease. Pushed away by the increasing prices, some of the restaurants that had been there for years such as Tiramesu and Van Dyke Cafe have left the famous pedestrian road as well as a few independent retail stores. Some retailers see things big as Gap and Apple are joining H&M and Forever 21 to open two or three-story shops and new comers include : British clothing designer Ted Baker, Italian cosmetics brand Kiko Milano, Argentinian gelateria Freddo and elegant French macaron boutique Laduree.

The Miami Beach Community Church

The Miami Beach Community Church

The Miami Beach Community Church, built in 1920, the oldest church in Miami, is facing severe financial difficulties. After some debate and controversy, Miami Beach commissioners accepted the proposed plan to develop the front courtyard section of the church into  The Touzet-designed three-story property combining retail and a roof-top garden. The church had to make a choice : disappearing or accepting to redevelop a section of its property and lease it for $100 million dollars over 50 years. This is a good example of the challenges currently questioning Lincoln Road’s identity as it is reaching a new growth : how to attract large local and international brands while keeping some sense of a local community and preserve a little bit of the area’s legacy ?

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1111 Lincoln Road garage. Photo by Jan Berghege.

A lot is happening on Lincoln Road, the most famous pedestrian street in Miami Beach and probably in the whole South Florida region. The popular street had somehow become too popular and overwhelmed by low-class tourist restaurants where service was known to be bad and food barely acceptable.  Lincoln Road‘s “facelift” started in 2009/2010 when the 1111 Lincoln Road building featuring the only garage to be rewarded by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects arose on the South end of the street, just across the street from the Lincoln Road Regal cinema theater. The building, built by Miami-based developer Robert Wennett and designed by awarded Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron ( whose firm is also building the new Perez Art Museum in Bayfront Park, formerly known as the Miami Art Museum ), was shaking the local Art Deco architecture style while bringing international and creative retailers such as German art and deco book publisher Taschen, Nespresso boutique and cafe, Brazilian clothing designer Osklen, fashion avant-garde spot The Alchemist  and great to be seen at penthouse restaurant Juvia which opened a few months ago.

As mentioned in a recent article by The Miami Herald , this transformation of the Lincoln Road area was also initiated by the move of the New World Symphony school and theater from the historic Lincoln Theater to their new Frank Gehry-designed campus on 17th Street in 2011. Their monthly outdoor concerts or “Wallcasts” have dramatically changed the way South Florida families perceive classical music and created a needed sense of community in the area.

H & M 2012/2013 winter/fall collection. Photos from http://www.hm.com

Now a new wave of retail and restaurant have appeared and more are on their way. The historic Lincoln Theater has been beautifully restored and is now the home of famous Swedish retailer H&M, which opened a few days ago, creating very long lines around the block, Israeli soap and beauty product retailer Sabon, and Swatch. Lacoste opened last summer. Amongst many other surprises, the fashion store Forever 21, which has a large space at the Aventura Mall, will open the biggest retail space at 701 Lincoln Road, a new two-story Gap store will appear at 1001 Lincoln Road and the 1000 building, which is currently under construction, will feature more retail space and a rooftop restaurant.

The cost to lease a retail space located on Lincoln Road has obviously jumped, leading to an average of $300 per square foot per year and in many cases, an additional $150-200,000 in key money to be paid by tenants at the beginning of a lease to get an improved condition retail space.

I am glad that some of the Lincoln Road area building owners had the vision to see the street and the area’s potential. The famous pedestrian street is now offering a wider variety and a higher quality of shopping and entertainment experiences. It is certainly becoming an urban destination that will increasingly appeal to the Miami Beach and to the South Florida resident community.

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