Keeping it memorable, classic, natural

A rising star in retail in the United States and Latin America is Beame Architectural Partnership. The Coral Gables, Fla.-based firm has designed millions of square feet for all kinds of development opportunities, from mixed-use to each of its components: office, hotel, residential, amusement, and more.

But retail is Beame's specialty. “You don't develop shopping centers unless you know what you're doing,” notes Lawrence Beame, the firm's high-energy president. “Retail is no place for amateurs.”

The extraordinary Dolphin Mall value regional center near the Miami airport, done for the Taubman Co. and Swerdlow Real Estate Group, is a recent example of Beame's work. The firm emphasizes classic design as well as a return to natural amenities. The Riverwood project, a large masterplan the firm is working on in Jacksonville, Fla., typifies this approach.

“The development is going to incorporate a lot of natural elements, such as lakes, interactive water features for children and adults, and landscaping,” says David Herbert, partner. Riverwood, developed by the Goodman Co., will feature a 550,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle center and a 550,000-sq.-ft. power center in the first phase.

Riverwood's power center will offer a friendly environment with an apartment tower, offices, a lake, and a pad for a hotel to come in a later phase. “We're creating a community in a town center in a part of Jacksonville that doesn't really have one,” Herbert notes. “To get to our project, you'll need to come by car. But once you're there, it's going to encourage strolling and walking — being outside and in the stores.”

Another place where the firm's ability to translate the public need for activity and space but also calm is Mary Brickell Village, a two-level, urban mixed-use development complete with fabulous restaurants. The open-air project abuts Miami's central business district. It will have three central public plazas and lots of landscaping, as well as a 300-room hotel and a much-needed parking deck. “We could have built five times the area on the site by code,” Beame observes. “But what we're creating instead is a low-density, park-like setting.”

The village will strive to offer a quiet environment. “People are looking for more relaxing, old town square developments they can enjoy at their leisure — so the theme of this project is wood, water and green,” Beame says.

The firm also is working on what's to be the largest mall in Central America, Pan Pacific Mall outside Panama. “It's a three-level center with entertainment primarily located on the third level,” Beame says.

Pan Pacific will feature a much-needed amenity in the area — covered parking. “It rains about eight months out of the year there. So there's covered parking where shoppers can get into the stores,” Beame says.