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AVENTURA-Nordstrom signed a letter of intent with Turnberry Associates and Simon Property Group to build a two-level, 167,000-sf store at Aventura Mall. Drew Barkett, Turnberry’s EVP of retail development and real estate, tells GlobeSt.com, “we tried to get Nordstrom to take a vacant 157,000-sf Lord & Taylor space, but it just didn’t work for them.”

Instead, the new Nordstrom unit will be built next to the former Lord & Taylor space, which will either be renovated or rebuilt for additional smaller-store retail. “We haven’t made a final decision,” Barkett says, “but I believe we will rebuild.” He declined to provide details and terms of the Nordstrom agreement, except to say that Nordstrom is building the store. It and the approximately 160,000 sf of new retail are expected to open in fall 2007.

Asked the rental rate at Aventura, Barkett says, “expensive, but worth it. Last year our sales per sf averaged $875, and this year it will be between $925 per sf and $950 per sf. We are never vacant,” he adds, saying there is a waiting list of tenants, both new and existing ones seeking additional space. Nordstrom will join the current anchors, which are Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Macy’s Men, J.C. Penney, Sears and Macy’s Home Store.

“Aventura Mall offers the perfect spot to expand our presence in South Florida serving local residents and out-of-town visitors who love to shop,” says Erik Nordstrom, EVP, in a statement. This will be the Seattle-based retailer’s third location in the Greater Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and its eighth in Florida. It opened six units in South Florida within the past five years, and Nordstrom says his stores have had a positive response from the site in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, which opened in 2002, and from Dadeland Mall where it opened last fall.

Locally based Turnberry has a 67% interest in the 2.4-million-sf mall, and Indianapolis-based Simon has the remaining 33% interest. The mall was constructed as a 1.5-million-sf property in 1983 and expanded in 1997. It currently has more than 250 retail and specialty shops, a 24-screen theater and a variety of restaurants.

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