Things to Consider When Developing a Shopping Center in South Florida

Retail is on the rise in South Florida. If you have plans to develop a shopping center or retail strip, there are important considerations to evaluate before diving in. While some are obvious, others you may be less familiar with.


  • Location – An obvious one. The shopping center’s location will have a major impact on the amount and type of traffic you receive. Is the center located near an office park or mixed-use space where you can expect to generate lunch-time traffic or before or after work shoppers? Or is located closer to where people live, in which case parking and ease of access need to be thought through.


  • Tenant mix – What type of retailers are you hoping to attract? A diverse set of stores and restaurants can give your center a leg up over the competition, provided those stores are indeed what your shoppers are looking for. If parking is tight, make sure the tenant mix won’t be competing with each other for spaces (ie a lunch-focused restaurant shouldn’t be next to another lunch spot…but a more dinner-focused place next door will alleviate parking problems). Here it can be helpful to evaluate trends and data surrounding local shopping habits as you establish goals for your shopping center.


  • Construction considerations – There is a lot of behind the scenes (and behind the walls!) work that needs to be done when renovating an existing strip mall or building a new center from the ground up. Certain things like running gas lines and installing grease trap requirements for restaurants are easier to do before the build nears completion. You may also want to include things like sound proofing and vibration isolation depending on the kind of tenants you will have.


The challenge for many property owners, however, is that they don’t necessarily know who is going to lease what in their space when they begin construction.


In this case, we recommend building the skeleton first. Then, once a tenant says it will take a certain percentage of square feet, you can adapt. Whenever possible, it’s better to plan to make it easy to make adjustments in anticipation of potential needs rather than try to reverse course later.


For example, if you anticipate having any restaurants in your shopping center, it can save you a lot of time and money by installing things like mechanical, electrical and plumping requirements early on so you don’t have to try to fish them through when it is too late in the build.


If you are planning a shopping center renovation in SoFla, give our team a call at Seacoast Construction. We can help you understand the local market and develop your construction plan.


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