As Sea Level Rises: Build the Mall

June 20, 2018


Sea level is rising. Malls are going bust everywhere. What’s the answer?

Build the biggest mall ever, at sea level.

Wall Street Journal:

At a time when store closures are accelerating and struggling malls pockmark the country, county commissioners in Florida have approved a plan to build what would be the largest mall in the U.S.

American Dream Miami would also be the most expensive mall ever built, according to Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide Group of Cos. The 6.2-million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex would cost an estimated $4 billion, Triple Five says.


The cost would include 2,000 hotel rooms, indoor ski slope, ice-climbing wall and water park with a “submarine lake,” where guests could enter a plexiglass submarine and descend underwater.

Edmonton, Alberta-based Triple Five secured zoning approval in May from the Miami-Dade County Commission in an 11-1 vote, and is now in the process to secure environmental and water permits for the 174-acre site.

The project provides a window into the thinking of North America’s largest mall developers as they confront the revolution in the shopping world sparked by e-commerce. They recognize it’s no longer enough to fill malls with stores selling clothing, food, electronics and other merchandise people can more easily buy online.

Rather developers are filling malls with restaurants, rides, trampoline parks, gyms, services and other types of entertainment. This strategy taps into the increasing preference of consumers to spend their money on experiences as opposed to goods.


The seas are rising, frequently flooding the streets even when no storms are on the horizon. But that hasn’t stopped foreign investors from shelling out big dollars for Miami real estate. Many are in it for the relatively short-term investment, then they’ll try to sell before climate change takes its toll, observers of the local market say.

Visit South Florida and you would have no idea this boomtown was a subprime war zone just a decade ago. In the aftermath of that collapse, Miami’s skyline was dominated by half-empty buildings and idled cranes; condo associations had trouble collecting fees, and billboards advertised lawyers who swore they could wrest back your security deposit.

The notoriously boom-bust region was bailed out by foreign investors, who desired hard U.S. assets and a piece of the sun-kissed Miami dream. Eighty percent cash down payments became the new thing — and often sight-unseen: About 5 percent of South Florida foreign buyers snapped up local homes without even visiting; 18 percent bought with just one visit.

But accompanying this giddy ascent has been a gurgling anxiety at sea level.

Locals are increasingly finding even inland streets flooded during high tide — the rising Atlantic Ocean sluicing through the porous limestone that South Florida is built upon. Catfish and even an octopus have been spotted in the floodwaters, as storm drains operate in reverse. Miami Beach is eyeing $500 million in infrastructure upgrades, installing 80 new pumps over a decade to redirect floodwaters back to the ocean. The city of Miami approved a bond offering that would include about $200 million for projects to prevent flooding and mitigate sea-level rise.

Even so, Zillow estimates that by the end of the century, nearly half a million Miami homes could be submerged. That’s tops in the country.


Miami New Times:

Miami tops of a lot of nationwide lists, especially when those lists have to do with climate change or luxury housing. The Magic City is the second-most vulnerable to coastal flooding in America and the most vulnerable to hurricanes — yet somehow it’s also one of the most expensive real-estate markets on Earth.

Even as the 305 has become the most expensive place for millennials, with the highest percentage of “worst-case needs” renters and requiring residents to spend a higher share of income on rent than any other American city, Miami-Dade has doubled down on luxury houses and condos, building so many new high-end units that it could take four years just to fill them all. In fact, Miami also takes first place in a ranking of cities with assets exposed to coastal flooding. In sum, if this city sinks thanks to sea-level rise and climate change, thousands of expensive homes are going down with it.

But for the billionaire preppers hoping to stick it out in South Florida, Arkup is here. Arkup is a new design firm that specializes in solar-powered, sustainable, “luxury livable yachts,” or “arks.”

The 4,350-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom floating homes are as mobile as any large boat — with 272 horsepower — but they can also become as stable as any house on land. Each unit is equipped with retractable hydraulic “spuds” that can lift the structure out of the water onto 40-foot stilts.

Arkup says its designer vessels are flood-resistant, capable of withstanding Category 4 hurricane winds, fully off-the-grid, and able to motor away from serious tropical storms. That’s why their makers are marketing them as “future-proof.”


5 Responses to “As Sea Level Rises: Build the Mall”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    For those 98%er families already stuck in the Miami area, the mall will provide air-conditioned “outdoor” recreation, free from rain, high humidity and mosquitoes, to distract themselves from the fact the only homes they can own won’t be worth much for long, and the only places they can afford to rent will be flood-prone.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    The human species is getting stupider, not smarter. And all because evolution has favored the “get yours first” greedy mentality that fuels run-amok capitalism. It is a sign of too many people having too much money that they are gambling on real estate in Miami.

    Arkups sell for $2 million—take a look at the other toys in the ads ad the bottom of this link. Sad.

    • Abel Adamski Says:

      Designed to withstand a Cat 4 hurricane when creating a new Cat 6 category is being discussed.
      Cool flog these to Rabid GOP and Tea Party members

  3. Kiwiiano Says:

    How much warning do you get from a Cat 4 hurricane? Where do you motor to, to avoid it? There’s no ‘higher ground’ for boats…unless they are amphibious and then they’ll have luxury size limitations. We have no concept of the tough decisions you have to make when you’re a 1%er.

  4. In my opinion, solar energy is very reasonable and I have installed one in my home from Solar Tech Elec LLC. It was very cost effective, Go Solar !!

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