The Falls Mall, Kendall, FL: Retail, Dining, & Fitness in One Spot

Introduction to The Falls mall

The Falls is an open-air shopping mall in Kendall, Florida. The Rouse Company developed the mall, which opened in 1980.

Simon Property Group manages it and owns 50%, along with GM Pension Trust and Farallon Capital Management. The mall features over 100 upscale stores, including an anchor store, Macy’s.

The mall’s design centers around an artificial lagoon with pools, waterfalls, and bridges. This unique feature adds to its appeal as a premier shopping destination in the area.

The Falls covers a retail floor area of 838,000 square feet, with its anchor store Macy’s and the recently added Life Time fitness center.

Life Time opened on August 4, 2023, replacing Bloomingdale’s, which had closed on March 20, 2020. The mall also includes a Regal Entertainment Group theater, enhancing its appeal for visitors seeking things to do in Miami, FL.

Simon Property Group’s involvement ensures the mall’s continued prominence in the commercial landscape.

Initial Development and Expansion

When The Falls opened in 1980, it brought a new shopping experience to Kendall, Florida. Developed by The Rouse Company, the mall quickly became an upscale destination.

It initially spanned 450,000 square feet and featured a unique design centered around an artificial lagoon with pools, waterfalls, and bridges.

In 1984, Bloomingdale’s became the mall’s first anchor store, marking the beginning of its expansion.

The presence of such a high-end retailer elevated the mall’s profile. Over the years, more stores and amenities were added, enhancing the shopping experience.

Macy’s joined as an anchor store in 1996, doubling the mall’s size to 838,000 square feet. This expansion included new retail spaces and dining options, further establishing The Falls as a major shopping destination.

The mall’s iconic tower sign, located at the corner of South Dixie Highway and SW 136th Street, became a well-known landmark.

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The expansion also brought in a variety of upscale stores, making The Falls a preferred shopping location for residents and visitors.

The thoughtful design and strategic store additions ensured the mall’s continued growth and popularity.

The Falls mall
The Falls mall” by Ven-Lib is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ownership and Management Changes

The Falls has seen various ownership and management changes over the years. In December 1997, Taubman Centers acquired the mall.

Just a year later, in 1998, ownership was transferred to the GM Pension Trust. However, Taubman Centers managed the mall until 2004.

In 2004, The Mills Corporation took over management after acquiring a half-interest in the property. This change brought new perspectives and strategies to the mall’s operations.

Simon Property Group and Farallon Capital Management acquired The Mills in 2007, subsequently assuming management of The Falls.

Each change in ownership and management brought new ideas and improvements to the mall. These transitions helped maintain The Falls’ status as a premier shopping destination.

The consistent updates and enhancements ensured that the mall met the evolving needs of its shoppers.

Impact of Natural Disasters

Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in August 1992, causing widespread damage, including severe impacts on The Falls mall.

Bloomingdale’s, a key anchor store, suffered extensive damage and had to close temporarily. The store didn’t just reopen; it underwent a significant transformation.

By late 1993, Bloomingdale’s had reopened as a three-story building, a step up from its original two-story structure.

This period tested the mall’s resilience. Despite the destruction, The Falls demonstrated its ability to recover and even improve.

The reconstruction not only restored the store but also enhanced its appeal with additional retail space.

The community responded positively to these changes, appreciating the mall’s efforts to bounce back stronger than before.

During the repairs, the mall remained a focal point for the community, showing that it was more than just a shopping center. It served as a symbol of recovery and renewal for Kendall.

The mall’s quick recovery from Hurricane Andrew’s destruction reinforced its status as a vital part of the area’s commercial landscape.

Recent Developments and Modernization

The Falls has continued to evolve over the last few years. On March 20, 2020, Bloomingdale’s closed permanently, reflecting broader changes in retail trends.

Macy’s, however, remained a steady anchor. Bloomingdale’s departure opened the door to new developments.

Life Time opened at The Falls on August 4, 2023, bringing a fresh dynamic to the mall.

This 120,000 sq ft facility introduced a variety of wellness and recreational options, including a beach club, saltwater pools, pickleball courts, and a spa. Life Time became an innovative anchor, drawing visitors for health and leisure activities.

Inside, there are seven studios for various fitness classes, including barre, cycling, group fitness, Pilates, and yoga.

The expansive fitness floor houses state-of-the-art cardio and resistance training equipment. There are also spaces dedicated to small group training and three indoor pickleball courts.

The wellness focus extends to luxurious dressing rooms with steam rooms, saunas, and cold plunge pools.

The Life Time center also features a Life Cafe restaurant and lounge, a full-service LifeSpa and salon, and a Kids Academy.

This new addition reflected a shift in how shopping centers operate. The mall’s management recognized the importance of providing diverse experiences.

By incorporating health and fitness facilities, The Falls adapted to changing consumer preferences. This move helped keep the mall relevant and attractive to a broader audience.

The modern features of Life Time complemented the existing retail offerings. Shoppers could now enjoy a full day of activities, from fitness classes to dining and shopping.

This comprehensive approach reinforced The Falls’ role as a key destination in Kendall, blending traditional retail with modern lifestyle amenities.

The Falls mall Miami
The Falls Miami” by Phillip Pessar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Falls in the Community

The Falls has become more than just a shopping mall; it’s a community hub.

The mall’s influence extends to the surrounding neighborhoods, which have adopted the name “The Falls.” This connection shows how deeply the mall is embedded in the local area.

Over the years, The Falls has hosted various events and activities that bring people together.

From holiday celebrations to fitness classes at Life Time, the mall offers something for everyone. This variety of events keeps the community engaged and connected.

The mall’s location at South Dixie Highway and SW 136th Street makes it easily accessible. This convenience has helped The Falls maintain its status as a key destination in Kendall.

The variety of stores, dining options, and entertainment make it a favorite among residents and visitors alike.

The Falls continues to evolve, adapting to new trends and meeting the needs of its visitors. By offering a blend of shopping, dining, fitness, and entertainment, it remains a vibrant part of the community.

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