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Terranova’s Stephen Bittel On Revitalizing Lincoln Road Shopping For A Pre-Holiday Boost

Miami’s Lincoln Road has become a hotspot for world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment. Along the famed street, hundreds of desirable retailers, chef-centric restaurants, and conceptually-driven bars have seen countless tourists, locals, and adventurers alike. With continued development and improvement from commercial real estate companies like Terranova, this area became a mecca for day trips, shopping, dining, and celebrating. As the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect the retail, hospitality, and travel industries, these once-booming businesses worked to stay afloat against constantly changing conditions. Stephen Bittel, Founder, and Chairman of Terranova touted that many businesses remained flexible during this time. Restaurants transitioned to take-out models, while retail stores welcomed “buy online, pick up in-store” models. Now, as conditions continue to evolve, businesses along Lincoln Road are working to revitalize the famed hotspot. In time for a pre-holiday boost, Lincoln Road is preparing for pop-up shops that will attract customers, and welcome back shoppers.

The Pre-Holiday Pop-Up Program

To help small businesses regain foot traffic and increased activity, and simultaneously fill vacancies created by long-term shutdowns, the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District has announced the launch of a new pre-holiday pop-up shop program. The program will rely on short-term leases, allowing seasonal small business owners the opportunity to occupy a premium space for a shorter amount of time. For fledgling business owners, and seasonal specialty owners, this opportunity allows small business owners to open up in a highly desirable shopping destination. According to Stephen Bittel, pop-up shops are a great way to bring in exciting new retailers that will drive activity, without the requirement of a long-term lease commitment. Bittel’s Terranova Corporation owns and manages several retail locations along Lincoln Road, and welcomes the pre-holiday pop-up program.

The innovative pre-holiday pop-up program was approved by the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District in September. It allows small business owners to fill out a lease application for a 90-day lease period, and all applications are reviewed by the Lincoln Road BID. Applicants are matched with potential landlords based on size requirements and other criteria. Due to the short-term nature of these leases, rates can be adjusted to fit the needs of short-term clients, and landlords alike.

With about 60 vacancies along Lincoln Road, this program aims to fill the vacancies throughout the holiday shopping season. To date, the occupancy rate along the Lincoln Road shopping district remains at about 74%, undoubtedly a reflection of the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent changes in shopping behavior. Thus, the pre-holiday pop-up program will work to fill these vacancies, while simultaneously attracting new, cutting edge businesses into the shopping district. For the small business owners, the visibility gained by leasing a storefront on Lincoln Road provides an unprecedented opportunity for future growth. Thus, the pop-up program highlights positive outcomes for all parties involved.

Landlords Stepping Up

Several landlords along the Lincoln Road shopping district are committed to making this program work. Recognizing the long-term benefits of a successful holiday shopping season earmarked by this program, landlords are offering vast incentives for small businesses to sign up. Terranova Corporation’s Stephen Bittel offers short-term lease rates at about $80 per square foot. This is a significant departure from the average $250 per square foot rate typically reserved for his long-term lease tenants. While this minimized rate can be seen as a drastic measure, it sacrifices immediate profit for long-term success and continued growth.

Speaking on the pop-up program’s mitigated lease costs, Bittel reported, “It pays for the operation costs, but we make no profit. If the tenant wanted to enter a long-term lease, we could extend the pop-up for the next 90 days. Our goal is to keep the street as occupied as possible.” This “big picture” level of thinking is indicative of Bittel’s commitment to the overall betterment of the Lincoln Road shopping district. With over 40 years of renowned success within Florida’s commercial real estate space, Bittel recognizes the importance of supporting this program. Other landlords are taking his cues, and following a similar lease structure.

With retail spaces ranging from 260 to 10,000 square feet, there are bespoke spaces that will fit a myriad of different business models. Under the current lease structure, landlords receive 10% of sales to allocate for common area maintenance charges, sales taxes, and utilities during the lease period. Speaking on the success of the pop-up shop, Bittel touted, “this gives people the chance to test ideas and gets people back to work…temporary occupancy is going to be part of our future for a long time.”

Featured Pop-Up Retailers

Under the pre-holiday pop-up program, exciting new retailers will be featured along Lincoln Road’s famed shopping district. Among these retailers, David Rosen Galleries will showcase 30 works of art within a 6,000 square foot space leased at 927 and 933 Lincoln Road. Art will be available for sale, and space will be transformed into a high-end gallery.

In addition, Plant Daddy leased a 348 square foot space inhabiting 809 North Lincoln Lane. Set to open in early October, the hip space will sell Plant Daddy’s signature indoor plants, hanging plants, and apartment-friendly greenery. Originally launched as an online shop that offers local delivery services, this space will be Plant Daddy’s inaugural retail shop experience. For a startup of this caliber, a physical presence can bolster a cult following.

Finally, vintage shop Renegade Rustlers will take up a 368 square foot space at 804 North Lincoln Lane, with a targeted opening date of mid-October. A first brick and mortar location for the 28-year-old business, this occupancy signifies an evolution for the funky vintage shop. Previously, owner Jozy DeFord has sold her wares in an antique market. Now, with the cooperation of landlords and the Lincoln Road BID, DeFord can take advantage of the pop-up program to elevate her brand.

Ramping Up Activities

In addition to the pop-up program, the Lincoln Road BID will also be hosting other activities to boost shopping, tourism, and retail activity. October will see the return of the Lincoln Road Farmers’ Market, and the Lincoln Road Antique Market. Both have seen a huge draw in the past, and are expected to welcome increased traffic once more. With all of these measures in place Lincoln Road, with its palm trees filled with orchids, fountains and beach breeze, truly is the perfect destination for a Covid world.

Follow Stephen Bittel on Medium and ThriveGlobal.