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Snowbird Trail is a 12-part series on unusual or different attractions for snowbirds in the sunbelt.
With more than 500,000 Canadian owners of properties in Florida, snowbirds top the list of foreign tourists and international buyers of real estate in the state, at 36 per cent, according to a 2013 report by Bank of Montreal.
As for the top Florida areas where Canadians own real estate, the report indicates the metropolitan Miami area, including Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, is tied for second with Orlando-Kissimmee (at 13 per cent) but behind Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice (17 per cent).
That’s a whole lot of property to furnish and decorate.
The Miami Design District’s one-stop street shopping experience – with its awe-inspiring architectural and luxury goods – isn’t to be missed, but it’s not the only non-shopping mall, fashion and design source in the key Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area.
Here are a few others:
Designer Center of the Americas, Dania Beach
South of Fort Lauderdale, in Dania Beach, at 1855 Griffin Rd., DCOTA (with locations in New York, West Hollywood, Calif., and Houston) consists of more than 800,000 square feet of interior design showrooms and office space, and a focus on indoor and outdoor furniture, fabrics, antiques and home-décor accessories, window treatments, and cabinet and other hardware. It attracts designers, architects, decorators and dealers, as well as their clients – who generally can only browse the showrooms and displays, since DCOTA sells wholesale to design industry professionals and qualified buyers.
Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour
The upscale open-air shopping centre opened in 1965 in the Miami suburb of Bal Harbour, at 9700 Collins Ave. It features luxury shops focusing mostly on clothing and fashion accessories and jewellery, from Agent Provocateur, Akris and Alexander McQueen, to Versace and Vince, with select furniture galleries.
Worth Avenue, Palm Beach
Renovated some three decades ago and then in 2010 through the nearly $16-million (U.S.) Worth Avenue Improvement Project, the four-block, coconut tree-dotted Worth Avenue goes from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean. The about 250 upscale shops, eateries and art galleries include Cartier, Valentino, Intermix, Ferragamo, Hermès, Gucci and Ralph Lauren.
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami
With its origins dating back more than 100 years, as a street cleared from mangroves and developed into a social centre, Lincoln Road Mall is now billed as a “pedestrian-only promenade and the epicentre of what’s happening in South Beach.” The sidewalk cafés and bars, galleries, and clothing and furniture shops – which aren’t in the luxury range of Bal Harbour or the Miami Design District but range from American Apparel and Armani to Urban Outfitters and Williams-Sonoma – run between West Avenue and Washington Avenue. An illuminated parking structure at 1111 Lincoln Rd. that was designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron is a focal point, with a lounge on the roof, 11 shops and three restaurants on ground level, and shopping on the fifth floor.