Why It’s a Great Time to be a Retailer in South Florida

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Consumer confidence is at an all-time high both in Florida and across the United States. This, coupled with a low unemployment rate—the lowest since 2008, makes for an opportune time to be a retailer in South Florida. New to the JLL team, Zach Winkler brings his expertise of South Florida retail leasing to the JLL team and our blog.

Nationally, major markets are peaking quickly, with declines in rent appearing in the hottest markets, and the top markets in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, South Florida is no exception. But while the retail landscape is undeniably changing, Zach is confident in the evolution of the South Florida market.

We sat down with Zach to dig deeper into the South Florida retail market.

  1. What do you find most interesting about the local retail industry right now?
    Many areas of the country are struggling in retail, but the tri-county area is thriving. While high street retail activity may be slowing down, as it is in all major cities, South Florida is seeing tremendous growth with many new projects being built. I personally think that while South Florida could be considered “over-luxuried” from a developer’s perspective, there is still room to bring in more quality, service-orientated retailers. 
  1. What should we expect to see in the next few years?
    It will be interesting to see what happens. There are large projects under development all over South Florida right now, but it’s not in your typical form. Developers are really buying into the idea that traditional shopping centers and malls won’t be successful anymore.  Almost every project is prioritizing the consumer experience above many other considerations.
  1. What kind of similarities do you see between South Florida and NYC, based on your experience in both?
    In my time in Florida, I’ve really seen a transition in the dining scene to be more “New York-ish”. While those large-scale hotel restaurants still exist and do very well, local, community-centric restaurants have made their mark on the dining scene. The idea that a first-rate meal by a world-class chef can be enjoyed in jeans and sneakers was something that started in NYC’s Soho and the Village, but now we are seeing it in areas like Sunset Harbour, Coconut Grove and Wynwood.

According to JLL Florida’s Spring Retail Report, Miami—one of the most coveted retail destinations across the globe—has some of the highest sales per square foot and rental rates in the country. But it’s not all sunshine. In Miami, we can expect to see a stagnating market in the coming months. The Magic City has an average occupancy of 96.6% and 9 consecutive quarters of occupancy growth.

It will be interesting to see the way the evolution of the retail industry plays out across South Florida’s powerful and evolving real estate market—and Zach Winkler will be with us to interpret along the way.


Zach Winkler

Zach Winkler leads the efforts of JLL’s South Florida retail brokerage. His role includes working with JLL’s brokers throughout South Florida in the strategic development and execution of business development, leasing plans and tenant roll-outs. Focusing both on landlord and tenant representation, Zach is an expert on the evolving South Florida landscape including areas such as the Design District, Wynwood, Lincoln Road, Collins Avenue and Brickell/Downtown. Utilizing his experience in the New York City retail market, Zach has been able to facilitate the expansion of retailers from the Northeast to South Florida by showing similarities between the growth of Miami’s neighborhoods to those of NYC over the past decade. Contact Zach.