Jeweler Pomellato is making a comeback at Bal Harbour Shops, while Prada adds another store. The two leases come as the owner of the luxury mall faces pushback over a plan to develop a hotel and residential addition to the site, with an affordable component.
Pomellato, one of several jewelry brands owned by Kering, signed a lease on the second floor, taking over a La Perla boutique that shuttered recently. The Pomellato store will open in late March, said a representative for Whitman Family Development, which owns the open-air shopping center.
The Italian brand, whose diamond necklaces cost thousands of dollars, currently has a store inside the Aventura Mall and was a tenant at Bal Harbour Shops until 2017.
Next door to Pomellato on the second floor, Italian fashion house Prada is taking over retail space once leased by Zimmerman, a luxury Australian women’s wear brand.
It’s unclear how Prada plans to use space since it also renewed its lease for an existing boutique on the first floor across the mall. Prada’s sister brand Miu Miu also has a boutique on the first floor.
Other Prada affiliates include shoe brands Church’s and Car Shoe, as well as Milanese bakery Marchesi 1824. Representatives for Prada and Zimmerman did not respond to requests for comment.
The dry ink comes as Whitman Family Development faces heavy pushback from Bal Harbour officials and local residents over the developer’s plan to add affordable housing onto the 18-acre mall.
The proposal calls for 600 apartments, of which 40 percent would be earmarked as workforce housing and the rest would be priced at market rates, in addition to 45,700 square feet of new retail space and a 70-room luxury hotel.
The fourth-generation family-owned firm is using Florida’s Live Local Act to override local government restrictions. The law, enacted by the state legislature last year, mandates that municipal governments approve mixed-use projects if at least 40 percent of the residential units are designated as affordable for at least 30 years.
Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and CEO of Whitman Family Development, has said the affordable housing is needed to accommodate teachers, first responders, service workers and hospitality employees who work in the wealthy oceanfront town north of Miami Beach.
At a public meeting this week, local officials said they would block the expansion. They claim the proposal violates a previous height increase the Whitmans secured in 2017 after a decades-long battle for a $550 million expansion that’s now underway.
“I am angry,” said Bal Harbour Mayor Jeffrey Freimark.
“I was deceived, lied to by the developer,” added council member David Albaum.
The dispute will likely end up in court as both sides have said they’re exploring legal options.
Julia Echikson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.