When the country’s largest mall comes to western Miami-Dade, a major developer wants to be ready with a custom-made mini suburb next door.
The Graham Cos. sold the owner of the Mall of America most of the land for its planned super-sized version in Miami-Dade, a 200-acre shopping theme park called American Dream Miami that would be about 40 percent larger than the original in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Graham Cos. also is pursuing its own shopping complex just south of the American Dream Miami site, with commercial space for retailers looking for spillover from the mega-mall and about 2,000 apartments for people working there.
Stuart Wyllie, CEO of the Graham Cos., said with tens of thousands of employees expected to work at American Dream Miami, “certainly a few thousand will want to live close.”
The Graham Cos.’ 340-acre project next door to American Dream Miami isn’t new; the Miami Lakes-based developer detailed its plans in regulatory filings last year. But the latest batch of documents filed with Miami-Dade regulators offers some new details.
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While American Dream Miami, built by Canada’s Triple Five, would dwarf the Graham Cos. venture in terms of square footage, the smaller neighbor remains a massive undertaking. American Dream Miami’s blueprints boast 6 million square feet of retail and entertainment space, the Graham Cos. development would span 3 million square feet — 2 million in office and commercial facilities, and 1 million in retail. In all, the project would cost about $1.2 billion to build.
“The primary motivation for the development of the proposed regional retail space will be its proximity to the 6.2 million square foot American Dream Miami entertainment retail project,” the Graham Cos. wrote in application documents released this week. “The Applicant believes that there are retailers, including a wide variety of ‘big boxes,’ who will either be unable to locate in the American Dream Miami or disinterested in doing so [but will want] to be in a position to capitalize on the traffic created by American Dream Miami.”
With both sites consisting of mostly undeveloped land in the area where the Florida Turnpike meets Interstate 75, traffic has been a top concern for American Dream Miami’s plans. Wyllie said Graham Cos. sees an upside in the traffic pressures: forced improvements in the highways serving American Dream Miami. He’s betting that will make it easier to get to the commercial complex south of American Dream Miami, too.
Spillover is a big driver in the Graham Cos. project: Along with the more affordable rental space, the complex would boast four hotels with 800 rooms in all. That’s in addition to the 2,000 planned in American Dream Miami itself — a tourist attraction that says it will attract roughly 30 million visitors a year.
“The idea is to create a community,” Wyllie said, “that will work comfortably next to something so large and unique.”