Upscale dining, evening entertainment and sophisticated shopping have marked the emergence of The Palms during the past two years.
Devon Seafood Grille soon will expand a growing smorgasbord of upscale dining places around the lake where the old Town and Country Center Mall once existed at Kendall Drive and SW 117th Avenue.
Newest restaurant to open was Carmine’s La Trattoria in February, initial expansion of a successful Palm Beach entrepreneur offering a gourmet menu of Italian specialties.
It was fashionable makeovers like these originally promised for the redevelopment of the 700,000-square-foot mall area on the east side of Mills Drive, once anchored by a Sears, other chain stores and independently owned shops.
The plaza-styled development of The Palms around the six-acre lake now glistens at night with a lighted fountain and brightly lit facades of Mediterraneanstyled architecture, when viewed from SW 117th Avenue.
Rising are the exterior cinderblock walls for Devon Seafood Grille, a deluxe seafood restaurant, one of two openings planned by the growing Midwestern restaurant group in 2012. With already established locations in Chicago; Philadelphia; Milwaukee, and Hershey, PA, the restaurant group will expand to six U.S. areas with the new Kendall restaurant and a second in Oakbrook, IL.
Devon Seafood Grille at The Palms promises “simply prepared fresh fish, premium steaks, an impressive wine cellar and handcrafted cocktails in a chiccasual atmosphere” when doors open next year.
Just steps away from La Trattoria and the Devon site is the “Blue Martini,” described as the “hottest” new nightclub eatery in the nation. Its showplace lounge was the first dining establishment to open at The Palms and now hosts weekly live jazz broadcasts over WDNA (88.9/FM) in Miami.
Next came the Western hoe-down style of Cadillac Ranch, the trendy CG Burgers and ice cream treats of Haagen-Dazs to create additional dining choices adjacent to the Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann’s retail stores that opened the first phase of The Palms development.
The two national fashion outlets were joined by a 2009 opening of an 88,783- square-foot Kohl’s, second highest performing store of the U.S. chain. On the west side shopping center, Marshall’s, Men’s Wearhouse, Nine West Outlet and Shaq (O’Neal’s) 24-Hour Fitness debuted soon after.
Recent demolition of the last section of the old mall building and utility relocations marks “the commencement of the second phase” of that area’s redevelopment with “two boxes and two signature restaurants,” said Claudia Marquez, marketing/specialty manager for The Palms at Town and Country, as well as London Square at SW 137th Avenue and 120th Street, both managed by Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.
“Local Miami flavor along with an unmatched depth of retail options is what is making The Palms a new entertainment hub for western Miami-Dade County,” Marquez said.
“When complete, the retailer lineup will include fashion apparel, entertainment, white tablecloth dining, home accessories and specialty retail business. Altogether, it is Kendall’s newest open air retail destination.”
The 75-acre site includes the west side shopping center with new architectural facades, the Professional/Medical Arts Center, a boutique hotel and a condominium office building fronting SW 117th Avenue.
Development for The Palms dates back nearly 10 years when Codina Group Inc., the center’s former ownership, began studying an upgrade of the six outparcel sites of the 700,000 square feet that comprised the mall area.
TIAFF-CREF, a New York-based international real estate corporation purchased the Codina land holding in 2004 and announced new site planning in 2006 that began with mall demolition that paved the way for 2007-08 construction of the first phase of The Palms.