Whitman Family Development has submitted plans for a new mixed-use development within their Bal Harbour Shops property at 9700 Collins Avenue in the Village of Bal Harbour, Florida. Aimed at enhancing the 18-acre property, this project proposes the addition of attainable and market-rate residences alongside a boutique hotel in the commercial district. Bal Harbour Shops, currently the commercial centerpiece of the Village, hosts over 100 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The development’s plan includes 600 high-end residential units, dividing them into 40% workforce housing and 60% luxury housing, a 70-room upscale hotel, and an additional 45,700 square feet of retail space. The project’s architectural design is led by the esteemed firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
The development leverages Florida’s Live Local Act, a bipartisan bill addressing the need for affordable and attainable housing statewide. This legislation allows developers to increase density and building heights in commercial zones, provided they include attainable housing units. Local municipalities must approve such mixed-use residential projects through an administrative review, facilitating quicker project timelines. In return, developers must allocate at least 40% of residential units as attainable or affordable housing for a minimum of 30 years.
Matthew Whitman Lazenby, President and CEO of Whitman Family Development, stated, “South Florida’s economic future relies on creating more sustainable housing options. We are addressing this by investing in attainable housing. By adding workforce and market-rate housing catering to various workers, Bal Harbour Shops will diversify the area’s housing market, allowing those who work in this Village to live here.”
Whitman Family Development has filed plans for the development with the Village of Bal Harbour. The multi-phase project will commence with an attainable housing tower, followed by luxury residential units and the boutique hotel. The residential components will reflect the premium design characteristic of the luxury brand and include amenities such as swimming pool decks, lounges, fitness centers, and outdoor recreational areas. This development is anticipated to contribute additional tax revenue, supporting the Village in enhancing public safety measures and infrastructure.
The residential component addresses the demand for accessible housing in the region. According to the 2023 Housing Needs Assessment by the University of Florida and Miami Homes for All, half of Miami-Dade’s households spend over 30% of their income on housing costs. Bal Harbour’s average home value is $1.7 million, with median rental prices around $7,000 monthly, often outpricing the community’s workforce.
Mr. Whitman Lazenby added, “The addition of a residential component at Bal Harbour Shops will allow a broader range of residents to live closer to their workplaces. This development will reduce commute times and improve quality of life for many commuting into Bal Harbour daily.”
Under Bal Harbour Shops’ development plans, the new towers are designed to reach approximately 275 feet, complementing the scale of the surrounding buildings in the Village of Bal Harbour. Emphasizing pedestrian accessibility and street-level interaction, the design introduces new entry points to improve connectivity within the development and the adjacent areas. A key feature of the buildings is their sleek, white façades, accented with horizontal lines that starkly contrast with the verdant vertical gardens, which soften the architecture and blend nature with the urban setting. The design’s overarching theme is contemporary, characterized by a preference for straight lines and rectangular shapes.
Whitman Family Development has been a key player in South Florida’s real estate scene for 60 years. Since opening Bal Harbour Shops in 1965, the firm has continually invested in the property. The luxury retail center is currently undergoing a $550 million expansion to nearly double its retail space, accommodating 35 new upscale stores and restaurants. This expansion is set to reinforce Bal Harbour Shops as a premier destination for luxury shopping, hospitality, and dining.