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MIAMI-Although a competitor won’t open its portals until September 2002, Bal Harbour Shops, a high-end boutique emporium at Collins Avenue and NE 96th Street in suburban Bal Harbour, FL, is reminding tenants their leases prohibit them from opening a store at a competing retail location that is at least within a 25-mile radius.

Even though its reported store sales average $1,200 per sf, Bal Harbour Shops officials are closely monitoring the construction and leasing progress of Rouse Co.’s $200 million, 850,000-sf Village of Merrick Park at LeJeune Road and San Lorenzo Avenue in Coral Gables, FL, 16 miles southwest of Bal Harbour. The Rouse project is scheduled to open in September 2002.

The reason for Bal Harbour Shops’ close scrutiny of its tenants’ plans and of the Coral Gables center is that Rouse has announced Neiman-Marcus and Nordstrom have been signed as tenants. Village of Merrick Park will have 90 specialty stores, 110,000 sf of class-A office, 120 apartments and 3,390 parking spaces.

Bal Harbour Shops officials are aware the Rouse project not only has the location of exclusive Coral Gables, but is accessible from the Metrorail to attract downtown shoppers, tourists and suburban residents. Officials at Bal Harbour Shops and the Rouse Co. couldn’t be reached for comment.

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