April 23, 2024
Overcoming Obstacles

Photo: CBRE

The Galleria Mall opened in 1954 as an open-air shopping center. It was enclosed in the 1980s.

Economic Backbone: Commercial Real Estate

Overcoming Obstacles

The decades-old Galleria mall in Fort Lauderdale is a prime spot for redevelopment, if developers can just get its neighbors to agree.

Mike Vogel | 3/25/2024

There’s no mistaking the redevelopment appeal of the 800,000-sq.-ft. Galleria at Fort Lauderdale. The lagging mall sits in a prime spot to capture the dollars of tourists and affluent homeowners nearby with its front on heavily traveled Sunrise Boulevard, between Federal Highway (U.S.1) and beach road A1A, just across the bridge from the famed city beach. It has water views, is just a short ride to downtown and is about a third the size of the city’s central business district.

“An incredible placemaking opportunity,” says Robert Given, a vice chairman at CBRE, which was engaged to sell the mall by the property owner, a Pennsylvania teachers pension fund. The pension fund bought the mall for $126 million in 1993. CBRE says it expects a global audience to take interest.

The local audience, however, presents the hitch in the Galleria’s prospects: Buyer beware the neighbors.

Fort Lauderdale’s powerful neighborhood associations thwarted previous attempts to re-invent the Galleria. A plan in 2015 to redevelop the site with a 45-story condo tower was scuttled. A subsequent plan to build 1,640 residential units and a hotel, office and retail went nowhere. A scaled-down plan for 1,250 residential units in seven towers was rejected in 2017. (There also was a plan, killed by the pandemic, to put a 1,200-animal marine, reptile and bird attraction in the mall’s old Lord & Taylor site.)

CBRE Executive Vice President Casey Rosen says, “Taking the property from its current sub-optimal state of operation to a dynamic mixed-use asset with best-in-class retail and residential should be a huge benefit for area residents and the region generally. We expect the property to provide high quality nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment in a reimagined environment with an ideal mix of additional residential and possibly other uses — all of which is needed in Fort Lauderdale.”

Any buyer also has to overcome a couple other wrinkles common to mall redevelopment: Dillard’s owns its site on the east end of the mall. Macy’s has a ground lease on the west side.

Tags: Real Estate, Feature, Economic Backbone: Commercial Real Estate

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