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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 4 years ago

Having a ball at the mall

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The nationwide shopping mall industry, battered by decades of overbuilding that was compounded by the recession, has yet to fully recover — but in Florida the sector is on a comeback moment.

The nationwide shopping mall industry, battered by decades of overbuilding that was compounded by the recession, has yet to fully recover — but in Florida the sector is on a comeback moment.

To wit: Four of the 10 U.S. malls with the highest sales per square foot rates in 2014 are in Florida, according to Fortune magazine. The report is based on data from real estate analytics firm Green Street Advisors. Those malls are Bal Harbour Shops outside Miami Beach; Aventura Mall in northeast Miami-Dade County; The Mall at Millenia in Orlando; and Orlando Premium Outlets. Sales per square foot at those properties, the Fortune article states, range from $1,385 at the Orlando Premium Outlets to $3,010 at Bal Harbour Shops.

Other positive signs abound for mall developers. On a national scale, three large firms in the industry, Taubman Centers, Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties, have had strong financial quarters. Chicago-based General Growth, for one, reported last month that more than 95% of its portfolio was leased. Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman, in an Oct. 31 third-quarter earnings conference call, says nine of its 18 centers are now among the top 50 shopping malls in the country.

And on a local scale, there's The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota. That $315 million, 880,000-square-foot mall, a partnership between Taubman and University Park-based Benderson Development, opened to large fanfare Oct. 16.

Here's a glance at the top 10 malls in sales per square foot:

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