Macy's may leave downtown Miami
By Catherine Lackner
Alarmed that Federated Department Stores is considering moving its Macy's store at 22 E. Flagler St. out of downtown, members of Miami's Downtown Development Authority last week vowed to intervene and persuade the retailer to stay.
The store opened as Burdines in 1912.
The move would be "devastating for downtown," resulting in the loss of 500 jobs, said Neisen Kasdin, a member of the authority's board. And it would be a blow to efforts to position downtown for a retail renaissance, he said.
"While the recent economic development is encouraging, our store and company's divisional headquarters need to be in an environment that is conducive to success," said Melissa Goff, director of public relations for Macy's Florida.
"Our organization has been at our current location for a very long time and would prefer to remain downtown. Our intention is to explore what the City of Miami can do to help us achieve this goal."
Flagler Street has been treated to a complete overhaul, including new sidewalks and lighting, but many other streets downtown are in need of repair, authority board members said. "Flagler Street looks great," said Bruno Barreiro, Miami-Dade County commissioner and authority board member, "but the store has three other sides."
"I'm shocked that the city has not sat down with Macy's, knowing their discontent," said Joe Sanchez, City of Miami commissioner and authority chairman.
It has been difficult to coordinate the efforts of city agencies responsible for maintaining streets, enforcing building codes and providing police services to fix the problems, authority members say.
"We have a credibility issue with Macy's," said Dana Nottingham, authority executive director. "We have been working with them, and they ask us what's going to change."