Poised near the main entrance of Dadeland Mall, a new, modern wing is emerging, filling with retail tenants, and soon, an array of restaurants that its developers are hoping will make the iconic shopping center an even greater destination for both residents and tourists.
With an open, airy feel thanks to high ceilings and skylights that beam in rays of natural light, the new Kendall wing offers 102,000 square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment space — without actually increasing the mall’s footprint.
Instead, a building that formerly housed two stores — Express and the Limited — was torn down to make way for the new wing, creating an expanded venue for 22 retailers and, most notably, five dining establishments, including the first Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace in the Southeast.
“Dadeland is one of the absolute top performers in Simon’s portfolio, and there is an enormous amount of demand for retail space,” said Kathy Shields, senior vice president at Simon Property Group, the managing partner of Dadeland, which purchased a 50 percent ownership stake in 1997. Morgan Stanley owns the other share.
So far, 17 stores and one restaurant are open at the Kendall wing, with more openings scheduled for later this month through early next year.
From the outside, the architectural design of the new wing stands out. A second-floor, cantilevered dining terrace, fountains and colorful nighttime lights offer a distinction from the rest of the mall, located at 7535 North Kendall Drive, near the intersection of U.S. 1.
“We have really brought the Miami Beach element to Kendall,” said Dadeland Mall General Manager Maria Prado, “very modern, very cutting edge. That’s the feeling we’re going after.”
Two additional levels of garage parking, with about 400 open spaces, as well as a new valet parking stand, supplement the exterior changes.
Inside the Kendall wing, leather sofas in central seating areas, a mosaic floor and two-story fiber optic chandelier also offer a welcome departure.
“It’s beautiful. They did a great job,” said Eddie Garcia, 43, of West Kendall, who was relaxing in a chair, biding his time before picking up his daughter from summer camp. “It would be great if the whole mall were like this.”
Aside from the stores, for the first time, Dadeland is expanding its range of restaurants, with space gained at the new two-story wing. Besides the food court and kiosks, the only full-scale restaurants at the mall before were Villagio and Cheesecake Factory, which has renovated its patio space in line with the new wing.
“That’s why the restaurants are so important,” Prado said. “When you look at this area and you see how much traffic we have, it’s what we need for our market — we need more options for eating.”
Dadeland Mall is ranked as one of the premier malls in the country in terms of sales per square foot, said retail consultant Cynthia Cohen, president of Miami-based Strategic Mindshare. Neither Simon nor Dadeland discloses that figure, however, and neither could Cohen.
Smack in the middle of a densely populated area and just a short distance from Kendall, Coral Gables, the University of Miami, Pinecrest and other communities, Dadeland’s location is a major plus, Cohen said.