New York fashion magnate Naeem Khan plans to leave the Big Apple for Miami, setting up a couture house on the Miami River under a discounted land deal approved Tuesday by Miami-Dade commissioners. “I’m so excited. I have goosebumps,” Khan said after a lengthy discussion ended in his favor, with only one dissenting vote. “All of my clothes are going to be made here. We’re moving all of our production out of New York, to Miami.”
The celebrity designer has dressed Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, and also produces a consumer line of high-end fashion and bridal gowns sold at Nordstrom , Bergdorf Goodmanand elsewhere. His company employs about 120 people in New York producing dresses and gowns, and Khan said he expects to move the entire operation to Miami in the coming years.
He plans to create a new headquarters facility in a vacant building where Miami-Dade used to operate a machine shop. Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration negotiated a below-market rent deal for the waterfront lot at 1175 NW South River Dr., with Khan having the option to buy the property if hiring goals are met.
Commissioners debated whether Miami-Dade would be better off putting the surplus property up for sale, rather than endorsing a custom-made package for Khan. But ultimately, the measure passed with only Commissioner Xavier Suarez voting no. “It’s clearly not an arms-length transaction,” Suarez said. “It may not be a sweetheart deal, but it’s not arms’ length.”