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Grand Boulevard works a big expansion and a trusted concept

Grand Boulevard in Miramar, Florida, was always a project designed for the long haul. A mixed-use town center that took shape in the early 2000s, it presented exclusive shopping and dining options, entertainment, professional services, corporate offices and residential and hotel space. At its center is the Grand Park, w a popular event site for upscale residents and visitors of this Panhandle resort town.

When it was still taking shape in 2006, the project’s developer and co-owner Keith Howard said that “Grand Boulevard will be a more modern and dynamic version of the town square model. You won’t have to leave the property.”

Here in 2018, Grand Boulevard is the midst of a ramp-up of this original conception. Its 650,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant, and entertainment GLA is being expanded to 1 million sq. ft. to accommodate a passel of new tenants meant to keep the center fresh and exciting.

“As with any retail center, after 10 years goes by, some of the tenants that were relevant then are not so relevant today,” said Howard Group’s VP of real estate Dana Hahn.

Experiential and best-in-class restaurant tenants were especially sought out by Howard Group for the reimagined Grand Boulevard, and one new tenant delivered on both of those directives. Local resident Emeril Lagasse recently opened an Emeril’s Coastal Italian there that differs from his many other restaurants in one key respect: the celebrity chef himself is regularly at work in the kitchen.

“Getting Emeril to come here and create an Italian concept, well…,” Hahn trailed off, not needing to state the obvious. “He was almost more excited about this than we were.”

Locals and tourists in Sandestin favor high-end concepts in retail and — owing to the Florida town’s long eight-month season — trend-setting retailers, too, are attracted to the place. New openings at Grand Boulevard in the last two years included Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Vineyard Vines, Lily Pulitzer, Hemline, and Grand Fitness.

“Our visitors are coming in from Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and Birmingham. You have a lot of doctors and lawyers who have second homes here,” noted Hahn. “When they’re on vacation, they have time to shop, and they spend a lot of time shopping and dining with us because we give them what they want.”

Grand Boulevard, which houses a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott, is also expanding its hospitality offerings. Hyatt will open an 84-key hotel there in December, and Indigo is expected to follow with a 132-key hotel in 2020.'

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