Target Corp. has rolled out CityTarget stores small-format, urban stores that emphasize fresh food and apartment necessities in several metropolitan areas outside Florida. The CityTarget stores tend to be about one-third smaller than standard Target locations.
A Target spokeswoman declined to comment on the chances of a CityTarget opening in South Florida.
It is believed to be only a matter of time until similar concepts arrive in the region, however.
"Many eyes are down here viewing the great projects in the works, Miami specifically," said Alan Esquenazi, a principal at Coral Gables-based Continental Real Estate Cos. Esquenazi represents numerous big-box retailers in their search for space in the region. He also represents landlords.
Near Brickell, developer Swire Properties Inc. is building Brickell CityCentre and planning to include 520,000 square feet of open-air shopping space. In Miami's Design District, a partnership between Miami-based Dacra Corp. and L Real Estate Advisors, a fund for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy S.A., has approval to build a $312 million project that includes about 140,000 square feet of new department store space and about 400,000 square feet of renovated retail buildings.
"Suburbs across the land are over-stored, and cities are underserved," Esquenazi said. "There's a disconnect."
Besides the population trend and saturation of suburban markets, retailers are reacting to the scarcity of prime suburban land, according to CBRE first vice president Michael Silver, a board member of the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida.
Vacant land also is hard to find in urban areas, but there are more opportunities for infill development, Silver said. Companies are looking to redevelop or extensively renovate older urban buildings, particularly in the area between downtown Miami and Midtown.
"A handful of sites can do a development like what Stiles [Corp.] did on Biscayne Boulevard," Silver said. Stiles constructed a vertical store at 1776 Biscayne Blvd. for Publix Super Markets Inc. The store opened last spring.
Silver noted he is marketing a nearby church site at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 18th Street, and many retailers have expressed interest.