Swedish retailer H&M takes prime Miami Beach site
By Patricia Hoyos
Swedish retailer H&M is coming to Miami Beach's Lincoln Theater, which is still under renovation to become a multilevel retail center after the departure of the New World Symphony.
The space will be turned over to its new tenant in the summer and H&M is expected to open in the fall, said Lyle Stern, owner of the vintage theater who along with his business partner Bruce Koniver and Cliff Stein, accountant and attorney who heads Savitar Realty Advisors, is transforming the venue while maintaining its historical characteristics.
Located at 541 Lincoln Road, the project encompasses close to 35,000 square feet of retail space. Mr. Stern wouldn't disclose how many square feet the retailer will take or any specific terms of the lease.
This will be H&M's first store in Miami and its fifth in Florida, the closest being in Palm Beach Gardens. The retail giant has about 2,300 locations worldwide and is known for offering fashionable clothing at affordable prices for women, men and children.
H&M will share the 1935-vintage theater's new retail space with two or three other retailers. Mr. Stern said he is in negotiations with potential tenants but didn't want to reveal with whom just yet. However, he did say he is looking to sign long-term leases.
Mr. Stern, who specialized in retail leasing, has owned commercial properties on Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue for years.
"It's a really important urban street," he said, "and it was really important to get the right tenants in."
"Unlike most developments, we're not really rushing it that much," he added.
The current ownership purchased the Lincoln Theater and an adjoining four-story office building in February 2010 and presented the project to Miami Beach's Historic Preservation Board. The project did face some opponents who wanted the building to remain an artistic venue, but it went on to be approved in October of the same year.
However, the board requested that the lobby and the mezzanine be preserved.
Mr. Stern, who is president of Miami Beach-based retail real estate leasing and consulting firm Koniver Stern Group, said he anticipates announcing the other tenants toward the end of January or in February.
Every decision a landlord makes affects not only the building, he said, but also the quality level of its street. He said he wanted the tenants to fit into Lincoln Road's mix and add to Lincoln Road's reputation.
The Lincoln Theater was the home of the New World Symphony for over 22 years. More than 10 years ago, the symphony's founder and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas began efforts to build the academy a new home.
Howard Herring, the symphony's president and CEO, has said that the symphony has grown in stature and so has its need to embrace new technology for artistic and education programs.
The New World Center, the symphony's new home, opened nearby in January 2011 and includes a 2.5-acre public park and a 550-space city garage with about 7,000 square feet of retail on the ground level.
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