Airport officials will try once again to land retail operators
By Suzy Valentine
Miami International Airport will shop for retail store operators again if the county commission approves re-advertisement of a request for proposals today (11/3).
Three of the four packages advertised by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department earlier this year attracted bids from Westfield Management Co. The commission rejected those bids July 7 because members said approval could have resulted in an $18 million deficit over nine years. Commissioners also heard statements that the bids didn't comply with proposal rules and the original request wasn't drafted to encourage participation by small businesses.
The airport's retail outlets have been a matter of contention for more than a decade. Miami International has failed to attract the major national chain outlets that are the drawing cards in most of the nation's bigger airports.
Yet as local business groups have complained about the quality of the airport and its retail outlets in particular, allegations of political interference have swirled each time the aviation department has tried to upgrade the shops.
This time, the department proposes advertising 27 retail units, split two-to-25 between the North and South terminals, in eight bundles to be structured as follows:
nTwo packages of 10 retail locations each.
nFour bundles with one direct lease location.
nOne contract to operate a single direct lease location, with applications restricted to small-business operators.
nAn agreement targeted at small businesses to run two direct lease locations.
The aviation department has revised the retail request for proposals so it includes only locations that can be built out in the next two years. Drafters have reduced the number of locations from 36 and the square footage for the North and South terminals accordingly. Airport officials have deferred the other nine locations until passenger traffic rises to a level suitable for buildout.
Contracts are for eight years with an option to renew for two.
Meanwhile, commissioners are also to consider today awarding a non-exclusive duty-free contract at Miami International to a Hollywood company.
Duty Free Americas Miami is part of a group that operates in 12 US airports. Its parent owns French designer label Christian Lacroix.
The nine-year contract, with two options to renew for a year, attracts a minimum annual guarantee of $20 million. The company is one of four to have bid on that contract.