RSP-Designed CocoWalk Renovation Celebrates Grand Opening
RSP updates Cocowalk, a 1990’s retail icon, adding uses, more expansive retail and dining; local community gets back an old friend.
MIAMI—May 5, 2021—The renovated CocoWalk has completed construction in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. RSP Architects designed the renovation to create a civic oasis, combining the best principles of urbanism, architecture and landscaping. After almost two years of construction, CocoWalk has a reconfigured layout, a five-story Class A office building, and updated retail and dining options with plenty of outdoor seating.
“CocoWalk has always been an important part of this community,” says RSP’s Larry Beame AIA. “It’s been an honor to refresh this retail icon and a pleasure to see the neighborhood get welcomed back to a new and improved living room.”
The development, originally built in the 1990s, relied on a U-shaped plan and a confusing, labyrinthine circulation network that often left visitors bewildered. RSP’s renovation simplifies paths into and through the project and connects it to the street grid. Some surgical demolition has clarified sight lines and created a central plaza that aids in orientation.
Most importantly, emphasis has been on local, more boutique-style tenancies who align with the neighborhood vibe and the local market.
“It’s a mixture of national and local,” says Beame. “But the idea was to capture the way people shop and dine and enjoy public spaces in 2021. They want to see familiar names but they also want to see tenants that exist nowhere else but Coconut Grove. It’s part of what has always made this place special.”
The result is a project that not only responds to the local market but creates an experience more attuned to the Grove’s relaxed, Bohemian history and vibrant future. The central plaza serves as the neighborhood’s “living room,” a public place where the community can meet, relax, grab a bite and even attend a yoga class. The scale feels intimate and right, and the landscaping and details create an urban oasis. A 60-foot kapok tree, relocated from North Miami, stands at the heart of the square—a neighborhood symbol the community adores.
To solve the challenge of a three-dimensional puzzle, the project needed a sizable reconfiguration. The original east and central components of the development have been replaced with a 5-story office building that flanks the central plaza and stacks above existing parking. The building, accented in warm terra cotta, adds contrasting styling and scale and offers the Class A office space that is so crucial to the current local market.
The transformative redevelopment of this iconic property can be attributed to CocoWalk’s ownership, a joint venture of The Comras Company, Grass River Property, and majority partner Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT). Together, the joint venture acquired the property in 2015 and invested in its extensive renovation.
“CocoWalk’s new tenant mix suits the daily desires of the area’s residents, office tenants and locals. Reintroducing CocoWalk with the types of brands and concepts that the neighborhood identifies with also gives visitors new reasons to rediscover Coconut Grove,” said Michael Comras, CEO and president of The Comras Co. and board member of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District.” With this transformation, CocoWalk reclaims its spot as a leading shopping, dining and entertainment destination in Miami.”
In designing the renovation, RSP’s Miami-based design team made it a priority to introduce local materials and landscaping, including timber ceilings, terraced planters, tropical trees and sculptural fountains.
RSP’s roots in South Florida go back to 1992 via the work of Larry Beame, who joined RSP in 2019. Today, RSP’s Miami office is active throughout the Southeast, Latin America and the Caribbean. They are currently working on Grove Central, a transit-oriented mixed-use development, and the Mary Street property, both of which are in Coconut Grove.
Founded in Minneapolis in 1978, RSP Architects has emerged as one of the country’s most trusted, diverse, and agile architecture and design firms. Our clients are a dynamic cross-section of established Fortune 100 global brands and retailers, innovative start-ups, thoughtful non-profits, government entities, and more. In addition, RSP i_SPACE is a proprietary consultancy service that specializes in facility information, while RSP Dreambox offers environmental communications.
With over 375 employees, the practice has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as Rochester, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; Fort Worth, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Miami, Florida. A subsidiary is based in Bangalore, India. A 100% ESOP firm, we consistently rank as one of the largest in the country with annual revenue over $75M.
The newly reimagined CocoWalk elevates Coconut Grove as Miami’s top destination for those seeking unique retail, dining and entertainment experiences. The exciting redevelopment taking shape can be attributed to CocoWalk’s ownership, The Comras Company, Grass River Property, and majority partner Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT) who together acquired the property in 2015 and have invested in its extensive renovation. CocoWalk features 150,000 square feet of prime retail space and includes now open and coming soon local, national, and international restaurants and retailers such as Planta QUEEN, Sushi Garage, Mister O1 Extraordinary Pizza, Botanico Gin & Cookhouse, Salt & Straw, Sweetgreen, Narbona Natural Foods & Farm Market, Free People Movement, Bluemercury, Edward Beiner, Edite Mode, The Spot Barbershop, The School of Rock and Cineopolis Luxury Cinemas. Aside from CocoWalk, the ownership group has also developed One Cocowalk, a five-story, 85,762-square-foot office building on the property’s east side. Through this major redevelopment, CocoWalk has returned to its former position as the Grove’s geographical and commercial centerpiece. For more information, visit cocowalk.com.
About Federal Realty Investment Trust
Federal is a recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail-based properties located primarily in major coastal markets from Washington, D.C. to Boston as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Founded in 1962, Federal’s mission is to deliver long-term, sustainable growth through investing in communities where retail demand exceeds supply. Its expertise includes creating urban, mixed-use neighborhoods like Santana Row in San Jose, California, Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland and Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachusetts. These unique and vibrant environments that combine shopping, dining, living, and working provide a destination experience valued by their respective communities. Federal’s 104 properties include approximately 2,800 tenants, in 24 million square feet, and approximately 2,800 residential units.
Federal has increased its quarterly dividends to its shareholders for 54 consecutive years, the longest record in the REIT industry. Federal is an S&P 500 index member and its shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol FRT. For additional information about Federal Realty and its properties, visit www.federalrealty.com.
About Grass River Property
Grass River Property is a Coconut Grove, Florida based leader in real estate investment and development of mixed-use, commercial, office and residential projects. As the developer, owner, and manager of some of the area’s most iconic and influential properties, Grass River Property has the local market expertise to execute projects of virtually any size and complexity. Our principals have collectively built more than $5 billion in office construction, totaling over 6 million square feet of office space. Our sustainable development and investments in urban properties are served by existing transportation infrastructures for high value-add projects that focus on walkability and transit access in increasingly dense urban settings. Examples include Grove Station Tower, a 184-unit apartment building in Miami; the 125-unit Aloft hotel near Miami International Airport; and the acquisition and planned mixed-use redevelopment of The Shops at Sunset Place and CocoWalk in partnership with Federal Realty and The Comras Company. Grass River has decades of experience working with some of the nation’s largest commercial, office and residential real estate and financial firms. www.grassriverproperty.com.
About The Comras Company
The Comras Company of Florida, Inc. is a leading, boutique real estate firm providing retail leasing, asset sales, consulting, and development advisory services throughout South Florida. The firm specializes in urban and suburban markets and offers services that include strategic planning, design consultation, market analysis, agency leasing, tenant representation, site identification, site acquisition, and disposition. The company was founded by Michael Comras in 1992 and over the past twenty-five years has become one of South Florida’s most recognized names in retail leasing. The Company is headquartered in Miami Beach and covers the entire South Florida market. The Comras Company is known for representing some of the most iconic projects and tenants throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. The company’s experience, as both retail developers and third-party consultants, provides The Comras Company’s team with the experience and insights that directly accrue to its clients benefit. Whether leasing urban infill development with high pedestrian traffic, a mixed-use project, or suburban land development, The Comras Company is uniquely equipped to fulfill its client’s needs. For more information, visit www.comrascompany.com.