Mizner Park Mall: From Humble Beginnings to a High-End Haven
Before Mizner Park Mall became the crown jewel of Boca Raton, FL, the site was home to a rather conventional shopping center known as Boca Mall. Opened in 1974, Boca Mall had its share of ups and downs.
It was initially anchored by Britt’s and Jefferson Ward, but both stores closed their doors by the mid-1980s. The mall then went through a decline, leading to its eventual demolition.
In 1989, a transformation began. Mizner Park, a high-end shopping and entertainment district, replaced the old mall.
The new development was named after Addison Mizner, the architect who significantly shaped Boca Raton. The park expanded in 1996, adding a Jacobson’s department store to its list of tenants.
The design of Mizner Park was inspired by Mediterranean Revival architecture. The style is evident in the layout, the buildings, and even the small design elements scattered throughout the park.
This architectural choice was more than a mere aesthetic decision; it was a nod to the city’s rich history and cultural influences.
The park has seen various changes, but its essence remains the same. It’s a place that combines luxury with leisure, offering a unique experience to visitors and locals alike. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Boca Raton, FL, Mizner Park should be on your list.
Mizner Park Overview
|327 Plaza Real Boca Raton, FL
|January 11, 1991
|Cooper Carry & Associates, Inc.
|Number of stores
|Total retail floor area
|398,000 sq ft
Mizner Park Cultural Attractions
|Mizner Park Cultural Center
|Performing arts theater
|Mizner Park Amphitheater
|Boca Raton Museum of Art
|Boca Raton Symphonia
The Rise and Fall of Anchor Tenants
Anchor tenants play a crucial role in the success of any shopping center, and Mizner Park is no exception. Over the years, the park has seen the rise and fall of several such tenants.
Jacobson’s department store was a significant addition in 1996 but closed its doors in July 2002 due to bankruptcy.
Following Jacobson’s closure, the space was occupied by Robb & Stucky Interiors in 2003. However, this store also declared bankruptcy and eventually closed.
The building underwent another transformation, reopening as a Lord & Taylor store in the summer of 2013.
Lord & Taylor seemed a perfect fit for Mizner Park, aligning well with the mall’s high-end image.
However, in a surprising turn of events, the store announced in August 2020 that it would close its brick-and-mortar locations to focus on online retail. This move was part of a broader trend affecting retail spaces everywhere.
The Tenants That Define Mizner Park
Mizner Park is not your average mall; it’s a collection of high-end shops and restaurants that cater to a discerning clientele.
Tenants like BlueMercury, Eddie V’s, and Kendra Scott add a touch of luxury to the shopping experience. Each store is carefully selected to align with the park’s upscale image.
In May 2023, American Social joined the list of tenants, adding another hotspot to the park’s collection of popular places to dine and drink.
This new addition is a testament to Mizner Park’s ability to attract quality businesses that resonate with the local community.
But it’s not all about shopping and dining. Mizner Park also houses the ECJ Luxe Collection, a luxury watch and jewelry store, and the Gramercy Hair Salon, offering top-notch beauty services.
These establishments round out the experience, making Mizner Park a one-stop destination for all things luxury.
The Digital Transformation
The closure of Lord & Taylor was a significant event, but it also signaled a broader change in the retail landscape.
The store decided to transition into a “digital collective department store,” reflecting a shift toward online shopping. This move was not an isolated incident but a larger trend affecting malls and shopping centers worldwide.
While the shift to digital has posed challenges, Mizner Park has shown remarkable resilience. The mall continues to attract high-quality tenants and maintains its status as a premier shopping destination.
The focus is now on offering a blend of online and in-person experiences, adapting to the changing needs of consumers.
The Artistic Side of Mizner Park
Mizner Park is more than a shopping destination; it’s a cultural hub. The Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park is located at the north end of the development and serves as the park’s artistic cornerstone.
It includes an amphitheater and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, adding cultural richness to the park. The Boca Raton Museum of Art complements the amphitheater, offering a different artistic experience.
The museum is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts, from contemporary art exhibitions to educational programs. It enriches the community by providing access to art and encouraging public engagement.
From 1992 to 2002, Mizner Park was also home to the National Cartoon Museum. As a unique and vibrant part of the complex’s history, the museum attracted visitors interested in cartoons and comic art.
The Mizner Park Amphitheater
The Mizner Park Amphitheater is another feather in the cap of this remarkable shopping center.
Originally known as the Count de Hoernle Amphitheater, this outdoor venue is located in the northeast corner of Mizner Park. It was constructed at $6.2 million and opened its doors on November 21, 2002.
The amphitheater underwent a renovation in 2011, further enhancing its appeal. It has a seating capacity 3,520, which can be expanded to 4,200 for larger events. The venue is versatile, hosting everything from concerts to community events.
One of the unique features of the amphitheater is its architectural design. It consists of a stage surrounded by a colonnade, with a statue and fountain at the entrance of the lawn area.
This design adds to the overall aesthetic of Mizner Park, making it a visually pleasing space for all kinds of events.
The venue is also the summer home to the Boca Raton Symphonia, adding another layer of cultural richness to Mizner Park. Whether it’s a concert or a community gathering, the amphitheater is a versatile space for various events, enriching the community’s cultural life.
Brookfield’s Plans for Mizner Park: A Turning Point?
In January 2023, news broke that Brookfield Properties, the current owner of Mizner Park, is considering selling this iconic mixed-use project. As reported, the property is on the market without a set price.
The complex, completed in the 1990s, includes a 272-unit apartment building, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 268,000-square-foot office tower, and 2,389 parking spaces, spanning roughly 832,000 square feet.
Brookfield acquired Mizner Park in 2018 as part of its $9 billion purchase of the project’s original developer, General Growth Properties. While Brookfield owns the buildings, the land underneath is leased from the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency.
The timing of the potential sale is noteworthy. According to the offering, Mizner Park’s net operating income could grow over the next decade from $19 million to about $25 million in 2032.
The offering also states that a potential buyer has the opportunity to raise apartment rents due to limited new multifamily projects in Boca Raton despite the city experiencing population growth.
Mizner Park has about 114,000 square feet available on the retail and office side, including a former Lord & Taylor department store that could be leased to a big box tenant. The space could also be redeveloped, according to the offering.
The sale comes at an opportune time, especially considering the project’s proximity to a planned Brightline train station in Boca Raton.
Mizner Park is not merely a shopping mall; it’s a cultural, residential, and retail hub that has become an integral part of Boca Raton.
Its Mediterranean Revival architecture, high-end tenants, and cultural landmarks like the Centre for the Arts and the amphitheater make it a unique destination.
Over the years, Mizner Park has shown an incredible ability to adapt and evolve. Whether it’s the shift towards digital retail or the changing landscape of anchor tenants, the mall has navigated these challenges gracefully.
It continues to be a place that offers something for everyone, from shopping and dining to arts and entertainment.
Mizner Park is a testament to the city’s rich history and vibrant community. It’s a place that has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination in Boca Raton.