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National retailer Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, and since then announced its plans to liquidate, closing all its stores – which leaves approximately 20 stores in South Florida up for grabs.

Gunster attorney Brian BeltGunster attorney Brian Belt, a real estate attorney in the firm’s Miami office, spoke to regional media publications about what the store closings mean for the region and its businesses.

The sheer abundance of large retail spaces the Sports Authority closings would unleash into the local commercial real estate market flies in the face of the current trend of retailers moving toward smaller, boutique-size spaces, Belt tells the Daily Business Review.

The Sports Authority stores average 40,000 square feet each, according to the article.

Among other things, this means the spaces may be used for lower-income-generating businesses, such as gyms, Belt adds.

Sports Authority is scheduled to sell off leases to its 48 stores in Florida at a bankruptcy auction on June 29, according to The Real Deal.

South Florida is primed to take advantage of the opportunity, more so than other locations, Belt tells The Real Deal. The region’s growing population and tourism make it a popular choice for business.

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