Reinventing an icon
For more than 30 years, CocoWalk defined what the world meant by “lifestyle center,” a template for hundreds of imitators. Today’s consumers and tenants have moved on, and like many developments of its time, this retail icon cried out for re-invention. Enter RSP and a plan to return the development to its rightful status by stripping away the bling of yesteryear for the authenticity of the local Coconut Grove community.
Our design team brings a true mixed-use sensibility to the scheme, layering components and assembling diverse tenants that complement rather than compete. The simple idea: to create a civic hub for the local community. To achieve that, we designed a new central gathering place to integrate with the site’s existing fabric of buildings, creating an open-air, shaded oasis that activates throughout the day (not just Friday and Saturday evenings). Indigenous landscaping, public art, water fountains and plenty of seating all contribute to the civic nature of the project.
Special attention was given to the mix of tenants, with no single use dominating. Instead, a curated blend creates a vibrant, active streetscape that appeals to the locals and fits with the existing context. Emphasis was given to those tenants that connect with the community and generate footfall throughout the morning, day and evening.
The central space also serves as an orientation device, solving the somewhat complex circulation paths of the past. Vertical circulation is exposed and visible from the plaza. Visitors and shoppers now have a better, clearer sense of where they are within the space.
Along with the retail and restaurants, a new five-story, 86,000SF office building with flexible floorplates has already attracted new tenants impressed with the village’s live/work/play equation. Cocowalk has achieved LEED Gold and is a leader in sustainable development.