Look for palm trees to sprout in the City of Oaks this winter as South Florida’s iconic Bal Harbour Shops debuts its first pop-up experience in North Hills.
Santa’s not the only one paying a special visit to Raleigh this holiday season. Miami-based luxury retail destination Bal Harbour Shops recently announced it will bring a sampling of its high-end brands and tropical, open-air vibes to North Hills later this month, the first stop on a multicity tour that also includes Greenville, SC.
The decision to debut the Bal Harbour Shops Access Pop-Up in Raleigh is especially exciting given it marks the first time the acclaimed brand has expanded beyond Miami.
“We chose Raleigh to launch this concept… because of its strong market fundamentals,” says Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and chief executive officer of Whitman Family Development, the developer, owner and operator of Bal Harbour Shops. “In addition to being a Tar Heel myself (graduated in 2000), I’m the fourth generation in our family business where our mission is to ‘create unique, meaningful experiences and special places that endure.’ We’re looking to lean into that with this Raleigh pop-up.”
The eight-week event will feature a curated collection of designer boutiques—think Tiffany & Co., Balmain, Frette, Bonpoint, Assouline, James Perse and more—housed in 30 crisp white shipping containers custom-built and furnished to fashionably highlight each brand’s merchandise. Nearly all of the brands selected possess no physical storefront in our region, providing rare access for local shoppers.
But the 17,000-square-foot alfresco space will be much more than just a maze of portable pods. Expect covered walkways with fans, a retractable canopy, koi ponds, fountains, planters filled with lush greenery and even piped-in music that truly captures the feel of Bal Harbour Shops’ Zen-like setting in Miami. Guests will also be treated to a signature fine-dining restaurant, The Whitman—a nod to Bal Harbour Shop’s family-owned roots—which seats 150 people and features a full bar and lounge.
While many Raleighites are thrilled for the chic addition to Raleigh’s shopping scene this winter, others are concerned the buzzy pop-up will draw attention away from locally owned North Hills stores that need the business, as well as take up valuable parking space.
Bruce Liles, president and owner of local menswear purveyor Liles Clothing Studio—which sits across from the parking lot in North Hills’ Main District that will temporarily transform into the Bal Harbour Shops Access Pop-Up—hopes his small business’ commitment to excellent customer service will continue to shine through even as prominent luxury brands take the spotlight.
“Our customers know we are unique in our market, and we feel we must continue to convey that,” he says. “To that end, we are coordinating with a group of locally owned North Hills businesses to highlight the value of shopping local and keeping the business within the community. After all, we will still be here long after the pop-up is gone, and we will continue to serve our customers as only a local merchant can. True luxury only exists with personalized service after the sale.”
And to those who might be tempted to avoid the shops in close proximity to the Bal Harbour pop-up for logistical reasons, Liles puts any worries to rest. “We would also like to remind customers we have curbside pickup and short-term parking in front of the store,” he offers.
“North Hills has also opened up the expanded parking deck with new access so there will be plentiful parking—all the more reason to come to North Hills and shop local. We look forward to serving our Raleigh community.”
The team behind the Bal Harbour Shops Access Pop-Up sees the activation as a boon to the North Hills neighborhood that will bring customers from far and wide to shop, dine and spend money at local businesses.
“As the Bal Harbour Shops Access Pop-Up was designed as an attraction for the luxury consumer, we anticipate customers will visit multiple times throughout the eight-week span, further demonstrating the benefits to North Hills as this will draw customers who already visit the location to travel more frequently and potentially stay for a longer duration of time in Raleigh,” Lazenby explains. “Similarly, we expect this pop-up will not only attract additional local shoppers to the area, but also draw tourists from neighboring—or even distant—locations to North Hills.”
“Similarly, we expect this pop-up will not only attract additional local shoppers to the area, but also draw tourists from neighboring—or even distant—locations to North Hills.”
As the pop-up’s public opening nears, shoppers are encouraged to check out its social media for sneak peeks of the space, plus announcements about additional brands joining the list of posh retailers. And stay tuned, as Lazenby hints there may be some exclusive-to-Raleigh moments throughout the eight-week run as well.
“In Raleigh, we are collaborating with a network of local community leaders,” he reveals. “Some of our calendar will include charitable events, performances with local musicians, weekend brunches and, of course, curated Bal Harbour Shops events.”
It’s clear that Raleigh is poppin’—and as the holidays kick off here in the City of Oaks, we can’t wait to see what else is in store. 4359 Six Forks Road (intersection of Six Forks and Lassiter Mills roads), balharbourshopspopup.com