• Why a giant new slide is so important to Aventura Mall — and what it’s like to ride it

    That giant 93-foot glass-and-steel slide that’s been tantalizing shoppers at Aventura Mall for months is finally ready to ride.

    The “Aventura Slide Tower,” which was designed by German sculptor Carsten Höller and the Miami firm Permuy Architecture, opened to the public Dec. 15 — the crowning touch in the first phase of Aventura Mall’s ambitious, $214 million expansion. Additions include a luxurious food hall, a covered parking garage, art installations and several new, world-famous tenants.

    Expanding a mall in an era when the retail industry is struggling seems counter-intuitive — if not downright wacky. But Aventura’s new 315,000-square-foot wing follows the success of other brick-and-mortar shopping centers that are seeking to provide entertainment beyond shopping. The idea is to make the word “mall” synonymous with a social outing — much as it was when malls themselves were a novelty.

    “The bulk of the repositioning of malls is happening to [secondary] malls, where they’re taking dead anchors and turning them into multifamily [apartment rentals] and gyms and medical centers,” said Steven Henenfeld, senior vice-president and director of retail leasing for the Miami real estate firm CREC.
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