Monday, June 15, 2020

Ominous clouds of development – Southland mall in foreclosure and therefore in play. What will be and will it be for better or for worse? It could be spectacular or spectacularly bad.

Southland Mall – the expect demise is not making many happy. Cutler Ridge / Southland Mall has been home to dinner / movie night for many of us, but this mall has not been thriving for quite some time. Sorry to see this mall go in the present form, as it has some good restaurants and a great, convenient movie theater. Who remembers Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s? What anchors remain there are ghosts of prior selves: Sears and JC Penny’s. Other current large anchor tenants include TJ Maxx, Regal Cinemas and LA Fitness.

Southland Mall, formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall, opened in 1960. It was renovated in 2005. It was originally hammered by Hurricane Andrew. The Coronavirus pandemic merely hastened this current sad situation where the mall has now gone into foreclosure – see “The Real Deal” online south Florida real estate news: Wells Fargo seeks to foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay, TRD MIAMI / June 09, 2020, by Keith Larsen

Also see Miami Herald online: Investors foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay for defaulting on payment, by Rene Rodriguez and Rebecca San Juan, June 10, 2020.

The lawsuit alleges the mall owner, Investcorp, defaulted on its debt payments in April. 

Something is going to happen at the Southland Mall site. The question is what and how much.

The Word On The Street: “Major players” are circling looking at obtaining it to tear down and build to the standards set up in Cutler Bay planning code.

Existing Property rights: For this site is 20 story max – 5,500 unit density (or Palmetto Bay’s entire DUV on a single site in Cutler Bay). Plus commercial. I also note that this Southland site is contained within a unified parcel. The above does not include the Macy’s and Sears parcels which have their own density, which I believe is up to 250 units per acre in what Cutler Bay code considers to be the core area.

Fair Questions? I wonder if the former unsolicited bid group – the $72 Million entertainment district group will appear at Southland?

IMPACT: (discussed below – overall, for Cutler Bay and for Palmetto Bay)

Overall: This will impact the bus lanes – the councils of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay should join together and renew a push for the metrorail extension, rather than continue to acquiesce on the shinier, better bus (BRT). This is why metrorail should be extended at least down to 211th (adjacent to the Southland property). This could be a true Transit Oriented Development (TOD). AN opportunity missed and another example as to how there is little vision paid to the real future needs for transit in South Miami-Dade.

For Cutler Bay: A potential entertainment district destination for their town, their residents. Road impact fees and an increase in ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance their town and address traffic issues. The Town Council could possibly extract assistance from any applicant to address traffic issues that impact Cutler Bay.

For Palmetto Bay:  US1 is at a standstill which will be made worse. The promise of the BRT may have all the same impact as the general promise of the ½ cent transportation sales tax – in other words – not much. The reality may end up being further traffic diversion off US1 east to 87 Avenue and Old Cutler Road. Bridge? No doubt. The Character of ‘old’  87 avenue transforming from neighborhood roads to a 4 lane surface highway as we have in Doral south through to Westchester. There will be no road impact fees or increase in village ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance Palmetto Bay or to address any new traffic issues.

What properties are included in this foreclosure and which will be involved in any redevelopment? I reviewed the property records posted online with Miami-Dade County. These appear to be the relevant properties:

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 1 - 36-6007-020-0020 - 671,239 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 2 - 36-6007-020-0030 -  85,973 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 3 - 36-6007-020-0040 -  81,415 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 4 - 36-6007-020-0010 - 146,658 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL Unplatted - 36-6007-000-0546 - 193,422 Sq.Ft

CLICK HERE to access the folder where I have posted .PDF print outs of the above property records.

Note that this list appears not to include the outparcels along US1 (including the Arby's and Olive Garden restaurants)  Nor does it include the Mercedes dealership or the two office buildings (the former Town Hall site).

The bottom line: Get a head of this before it has an opportunity to overwhelm us. Are the current officials up to the challenges? Believe me, this site, done properly or not, clearly has the potential to profoundly change both Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay. The question is will it be for better or worse?

The irony - the Southland carousel (pictured above).  Many years of good fun for kids, but now Southland is going to get South Dade started on the next go-round relating to density. Hop on.

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