Brightline commuters eventually might have the option of taking a yoga class, savoring treats at the food hall and running errands like picking up their dry cleaning — all in the downtown Miami station.
The retail segment at MiamiCentral is steering clear of the traditional mall feel to focus instead on services commuters might need, like a shipping center and food, according to Metro 1 Commercial LLC, the retail leasing agent for the station.
Metro 1 — a brokerage and development firm founded by Tony Cho and credited with helping Miami’s Wynwood and Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village evolve from obscurity to destinations — now is seeking tenants for about 70,000 square feet still left to lease at the station.
MiamiCentral, along Northwest First Avenue and between Third and Eight streets, is the southernmost stop for Brightline. The private passenger rail service started service to Miami in May after launching the first leg linking Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in January.
Metro 1 declined to give details about the prospective retail tenants at MiamiCentral but shed light on the types of offerings the station will have.
“We are going to be very food-and-beverage centric in this project,” said Andres Nava, vice president of commercial leasing for Metro 1. “But along with that, you still need some of the services like a cool dry cleaner or a shipping center. Those are basic necessities of the commuter. On top of that, there are very, very innovative retailer concepts that are a combination of these basic services and provide a very innovative retail experience.”
Indeed, innovative and experiential are words Cho and Nava frequently used to describe the ideal tenant mix.
“There’s discussions around potential innovative health-and-wellness concepts that we are exploring as well for some of the second-floor space,” Cho said.
Don’t expect a traditional gym. Think more along the lines of a yoga, Pilates or meditation space with a juice bar, Cho said.
Added Nava: “We understand that both local and national tenants need to have some sort of experiential aspect to them. It’s more than just going to grab food. It’s about the experience. … That’s what we did in Wynwood. They have these hangout areas.”
An example is the Nike store at 1035 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Cho said, although there’s no indication Nike might open at the station. The store allows shoppers to test basketball sneakers by shooting hoops on a second-floor mini-basketball court and try soccer cleats on an artificial turf field.
The 40,000-square-foot Central Fare food hall at the Brightline station is 60 percent committed and set to open this fall.
Some of the tenants will be the 800 Degrees pizza place, Parliament coffee shop and Italian bakery Rosetta, according to Central Fare’s website.
A 10,000-square-foot restaurant will be next door.
“Definitely won’t be a Shake Shack,” Cho said after being asked what type of restaurant he envisions.
A Shake Shack, he added, would be more fitting for the terminal.
“This is a full dining experience. I wouldn’t say it’s high-end, but it’s more of a full-service dining experience for the urban dweller,” Cho said. “We are talking to local, reputable hospitality groups as well.”
This much is certain: Metro 1, which brought Zak the Baker and The Salty Donut to Wynwood, is relying on its relationships with tenants it brought to Wynwood as well as Little Haiti, Little River and other emerging neighborhoods.
“We are leveraging a lot of our relationships and bringing those concepts to MiamiCentral to make it the face of Miami,” Nava said.
That doesn’t mean restaurants will be replicated. Instead, the same owners might come up with new ideas, Nava said.
“They rarely duplicate the concept. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they come up with a new idea that is specific to the project or the neighborhood because it’s all about locality. You need to be able to provide something different in each neighborhood,” Nava said. “That’s what we are passionate about, creating something unique, and we plan to deliver that to MiamiCentral with the existing relationships.”
Aside from the food hall, there are 90,000 square feet of retail at MiamiCentral with tenants already lined up for about 20,000 square feet of that.
Openings are planned this year and throughout 2019.