Miracle Marketplace developers hoping fourth time is charm, planning for March grand opening
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
The fourth time may just have to be the charm for a Coral Way shopping complex formerly known as Paseos.
The 250,000-square-foot structure was purchased in 2003 for $15 million by Michael Mouriz, principal of Keystone Homes and James Schlesinger, of Talisman Cos., partners in the venture.
Phase one of Miracle Marketplace at 3301 Coral Way, a mall at the doorstep of Coral Gables that has failed three times in the past, involves the renovation of about 30% of the building.
With phase one reaching completion, focus is now shifting to phase two, where the remaining renovations are to be completed, said Daniel Setina, executive vice president of Coral Gables-based Talisman, which resurrected Cutler Ridge Mall, now Southland Mall, and Midway Mall, now Mall of the Americas.
Mr. Setino said Bally Total Fitness gym's desire to stay open during the construction has caused some delays in the plans. The gym is now occupying space on the west side, so construction can be completed on the east side, to be Bally's permanent home. He said the gym's Coral Way location is one of the best performing ones in the country.
Bally's is the only business that remained open after former shopping center Paseos closed its doors. The gym is now getting additional space, growing to about 40,000 square feet. The new facilities will run on the east side of the second and third floors.
The retail complex opened 19 years ago under the name Miracle Center, designed by Arquitectonica International, with tenants that included T.G.I. Friday's, Fuddruckers, General Cinema, Scandinavian Health Spa, The Limited, Spec's Music and Sunglass Hut and with plans to add residences above it.
But after eight years, the concept was not prospering and the property was reinvented as Paseos Mall, a Spanish colonial-style shopping center with pushcarts, kiosks and specialty stores.
Paseos, too, had a short lifespan at the site.
In 2001, Swerdlow Group bought the mall with hopes of converting it into offices for high-tech companies, but the dot.com crash spoiled those plans.
But project officials are hoping this new retail rebirth is marked by success.
Phase one also includes demolition of the infamous ski ramp drive into the parking area, being replaced by a spiral-style pathway that Mr. Setina said is to make the upward drive more pleasant for shoppers. Vertical transportation, made up of elevators and escalators, is also in the process of completion as part of phase one.
Two other tenants are set to share the third level with the gym, a 30,000-square-foot Bed Bath & Beyond and a 40,000-square-foot Marshall's are to settle in, with the latter opening early next year and the former set to open in November.
The second level is to house a Michaels with 21,000 square feet and a Designer Shoe Warehouse of 15,000 square feet. The remaining space is to be occupied by the fitness center.
While the Bally's is to continue operating during the remaining months of construction, the other stores on that level are set to open in March.
The first level is reserved for some smaller stores such as PetSmart, set to occupy 28,000 square feet, beauty products store Ulta at 10,000 square feet and a Payless ShoeSource leasing 3,000 square feet. Sal's Italian Restaurant and Sweet Tomatoes are also at ground level. Plans for an OfficeMax were axed.
Mr. Setina said he is in the process of signing leases for the two remaining spaces at level one but said he could not reveal the tenants' names.
Miracle Marketplace's grand opening is not yet scheduled but is tentatively planned for March — some stores are set to open before then.
Much of the building's old façade is getting knocked down as part of the extensive upgrade. "It won't look anything like it did," Mr. Setina said. The renovations and design of the retrofitted structure are to be more aligned with "modern elements of community shopping," he added.
"This became a great opportunity to fill a void in the market with what we are bringing to the site," he said, adding "the amount of people living in the area is much stronger."
He cited the newly completed condo complexes erected down the Coral Way corridor that are bringing an influx of new residents to the area. "The demand is there for the goods and services we are going to provide for Miracle Marketplace."