The Bal Harbour Village Council is set to discuss the proposed expansion of Bal Harbour Shops Wednesday, a plan that would replace Village Hall with luxury shops and restaurants and has already brought about the demolition of a 70-year-old church that was the village’s oldest building.
The sale of Village Hall would have to be approved by a public referendum vote.
Overall, the luxury shopping center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, would gain almost 400,000 square feet of new space, almost doubling in size.
Bal Harbour Shops is looking to invest about $400 million in the expansion, which has been in the works for five years. The plan would bring in the state’s first Barneys New York store, new boutiques and restaurants, and major property upgrades.
849,709 Square footage of expanded Bal Harbour Shops, about a third the size of Aventura mall
Bal Harbour Shops is asking Village Council members to approve the project, which would include handing over the current Village Hall site. In exchange, Bal Harbour Shops would build a new and larger Village Hall, contribute $1 million a year toward parking and transportation improvements, pay $250,000 a year for police patrol, give the village ownership of land that has a bank as a tenant (the village would collect $700,000 in rent annually) and build a new waterfront public park spanning about two acres.
Bal Harbour Shops estimates the village’s benefits would total about $127 million, mostly from taxes, the bank’s rent and the new village hall.
“For the Bal Harbour Shops Enhancement Plan — and the significant benefits to the village that come with it — to move forward, the Village Council must vote on Wednesday to approve a public referendum vote on the sale of the existing Village Hall site,” said Kelly Chacon, a spokeswoman for Bal Harbour Shops. “Without the Village Hall land, the Bal Harbour Shops Enhancement Plan cannot move forward.”
The vote would be the first step in moving forward with the plans. The mall’s expansion would take place on the current Village Hall site and on the site of the former Church by the Sea, which was demolished in December. Construction would take an estimated six to eight years.
At previous meetings, some residents have complained that the expansion would cause traffic congestion, bring in too many people and disrupt residents’ quality of life with the lengthy construction. Some residents are unhappy about the prospects of losing their Village Hall.
The special meeting will take place at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sea View Hotel, 9909 Collins Ave.