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New renderings of redesigned Miami Worldcenter show open-air shopping district

Open air, “high street” retail will replace the planned enclosed mall at Miami Worldcenter
Open air, “high street” retail will replace the planned enclosed mall at Miami Worldcenter

Miami Worldcenter’s redesign is coming into focus.

The original plan for the 27-acre development in downtown Miami called for an enclosed mall surrounded by residential towers, a hotel and convention center, and restaurants.

But in a surprise move several weeks ago, Worldcenter’s developers announced they would replace the mall with a “high street” retail concept, featuring a pedestrian friendly shopping center along the lines of Lincoln Road in South Beach.

New renderings released Tuesday show Worldcenter as an open-air shopping district running from Northeast 10th Street to Northeast Seventh Street between Northeast First Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue. Instead of a hulking mall, the developers plan smaller one- and two-story shops and restaurants interspersed with public promenades and plazas.

We believe that 'high street' retail is the right way to move forward in downtown Miami.

Robert Taubman

They said the redesign would better serve the needs of Miami’s fast-growing downtown, which now includes more condo towers than ever before and is becoming more walkable.

“We believe that 'high street' retail is the right way to move forward in downtown Miami," Robert Taubman, chairman, president and CEO of retail giant Taubman Centers, which is partnering on the project, said in a statement. "The retail and restaurants, combined with the new residential developments and surrounding amenities, will create a very desirable urban experience.”

The change means that original anchor tenants Macy’s and Bloomingdales could drop out, although the developers are trying to accommodate them. Department stores generally need larger, taller buildings than high-street retail can provide. As a result, the shopping center could shrink from a planned 760,000 square feet of retail to closer to 450,000 square feet.

Construction is set to start on the shopping center and an adjoining luxury condominium tower called Paramount in March.

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