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Shoppers pass in front of a Chanel SA store at the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. While some malls are desperately seeking financial lifelines, Bal Harbour Shops is planning a $400 million expansion. Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberggrapher: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

At the northern tip of Miami Beach’s famed barrier island, atop what was once a tangle of mangrove-filled swamps, sits a three-story, 466,000-square-foot sanctum for the super-rich. A pair of models dressed in beige linen outfits strut silently past onlookers like a wandering catwalk ad. Outside, shoppers shell out $30 for valet parking and the right to show off their supercars near the main entryway.

Bal Harbour Shops looks like a posh resort compared with the 1,100 or so indoor malls sprinkled throughout America’s suburbs. Instead of the glare of fluorescent lights and fake plants, the main drag here is lined with tropical greenery and ponds with turtles and koi. It’s different from your run-of-the-mill mall in other ways, too: This one isn’t constantly cutting deals on rent to get stores to stay. In fact, there’s a waitlist. And while some malls are desperately seeking financial lifelines, this one is planning a $400 million expansion.

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