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Lincoln Road pop-up

Pre-holiday pop-up shops bring new life to Lincoln Road – and fill empty spaces

MIAMI HERALD — SEPTEMBER 28, 2020 — BY REBECCA SAN JUAN Lincoln Road is getting a trio of new pop-up shops.

To help small businesses and fill a growing number of retail vacancies, the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District has launched a pre-holiday pop-up program. So far, three small business owners have signed leases.

The Lincoln Road BID approved the program in early September. Retailers submit an application for a 90-day lease, said Tim Schmand, BID executive director. Schmand reviews applications and connects applicants with landlords. Lease rates are often less than the going price for annual contracts.

The BID is aiming to fill vacant storefronts before the holiday season. Although Lincoln Road signed several new retailers last year, occupancy rates have dropped by 8% since December 2019, from 82% to 74%, Schmand said. Of its total 250 storefronts, about 60 spaces are empty.

“The goal of the program is to get interesting, cutting-edge retailers onto Lincoln Road. If we get four interesting retailers on Lincoln Road, then that’s a home run,” Schmand said.

Some landlords are charging less for pop-ups than the current average asking rates. Stephen Bittel, chairman and founder of Terranova and owner of several commercial spaces on Lincoln Road, is asking for about $80 per square foot for short-term leases versus $250 per square foot for annual contracts.

“It pays for the operation costs but we make no profit,” Bittel said. “[But] if the tenant wanted to enter in a long-term lease, we could extend the pop-up for the next 90 days. Our goal is to keep the street as occupied as possible.”