Tag Archive for: business development

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Two massive towers are rising in West Palm Beach, reaching 426 feet high to clutch the tile for the city’s tallest high-rises.

They’re just the latest sign of the expansive growth as the downtown lures more businesses and residents.

The 30-story mixed-use complex, titled One West Palm, will contain 326 luxury residential units, 200,000 square feet of Class A office space, a hotel and a long list of amenities, including a fitness club, spa, movie theater and indoor tennis courts.

“These aren’t just the tallest,” One West Palm developer Jeff Greene said. “They’re certainly going to be the iconic landmark buildings in the skyline of West Palm Beach.”

One West Palm sits at 550 N. Quadrille Blvd. in West Palm Beach on Sept. 15. Developer Jeff Greene said the project will be completed some time next year. (PHOTO CREDIT: Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Residing at 550 N. Quadrille Boulevard, the 426-foot behemoths could fit the length of nearly one-and-half American football fields. They may be the buildings closest to the sky in West Palm Beach, but the project is certainly not the only one in the works.

The “Wall Street of the South” has become a magnet for developers, especially as people migrate from the cities south of it and move from states in the Northeastern United States.

‘The Most Exciting Thing ’

Construction on One West Palm began more than four years ago, and delays pushed completion to 2024, Greene said. But his excitement for the project remains, especially as it will now join other newly developed current and future projects.

“We started out with a kind of out-of-the-way location that really was across from a bunch of boarded-up buildings in Palm Beach,” Greene said. “And now we’re sitting kind of dead center in the middle of the most exciting thing happening in all of South Florida. So it’s really an exciting time for our project.”

The AKA Hotel is at 695 S Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach, seen here on Sept. 15. This luxury hotel opened last year. (PHOTO CREDIT: Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Greene said his vision was to create something the city did not yet have. While One West Palm will tout the title of highest buildings in the city, the surge of development in the area has produced several projects, some of which were recently completed, some of which are under construction and some of which were recently approved.

Among those projects are:

  • 360 Rosemary, a nearly 300,000-square-foot office building at 360 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 1100. This project was completed in 2021.
  • AKA Hotel, a luxury hotel at 695 S. Olive Ave., recently opened last year.
  • One Flagler, a 25-floor Class A-office building with luxury amenities at 154 Lakeview Ave., is under construction.
  • Olara, a luxury waterfront residence at 1919 N. Flagler Drive, is under construction and expected to open in the next few years.
  • NORA, a mixed-use district featuring casual to high-end dining, desserts, coffee shops, boutique fitness spots and retail, will open its first phase in 2024. Its first food and fitness tenants were recently announced.
  • Transit Village, a mixed-use transit-oriented development with residential units planned for 150 Clearwater Drive and 203 S. Tamarind Ave.
  • 515 Fern, a 25-floor mixed-use building expected to become the largest office building in downtown West Palm Beach at 515 Fern St.

Unlocking A Formula

“Those years of great planning and foresight and investment into the city are now bearing fruit by the private sector recognizing that this is a great place,” said Christopher Roog, the executive director for West Palm Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency. “The growth is occurring in a managed but high-quality way that is benefiting the residents.”

Roog said the city has unlocked a formula for creating places people want to work and live, leaning into the ever-popular ‘Live, Work, Play’ concept so many other cities, such as Boca Raton, are adopting.

“We’re intentionally building our built environment, like our streets and our sidewalks, to make them so comfortable and so inviting that it makes it very easy for that ‘Live, Work, Play’ concept to happen,” Roog said.

“More than 10,000 people now live in downtown West Palm Beach, and even four years ago, the population didn’t hit anywhere close to that,” said Diane G. Papadakos, the city’s director of communications.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can live in the city of West Palm Beach and thrive here,” Roog said.

Growing As A Destination

The flocks of developers, Northeasterners and companies moving to the area is accelerating West Palm’s trajectory, said Jaime Sturgis, the CEO and founder of Native Realty, the real estate firm behind the AKA Hotel and other West Palm Beach projects.

“When a number of these really large funds or private equity groups or even development companies have moved down here, they want to build things that are in their backyard,” Sturgis said. “With all of that wealth that’s migrated down here, there’s also been a tremendous demand to build projects to support the people that are coming. A company coming from Manhattan, for example, is accustomed to state-of-the-art facilities and rental properties to support the company’s workforce.”

For the past 10 to 15 years, West Palm seemingly stalled behind cities such as Miami in “urban core development,” Sturgis said, meaning a lack of construction, new office buildings, retail and multifamily residences.

“The urbanization of formerly industrial neighborhoods, which we’ve seen take off on a massive scale in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale, right through Wynwood and through Flagler Village, has been very successful,” Sturgis said. “And now West Palm is doing that with Nora, which I think is phenomenal. … It really starts to become like a true urban core.”

While not entirely new, the Brightline station in West Palm affords more flexibility for people who live in the city but work elsewhere, Sturgis said. And with more than $70 million in Tri-Rail funds for updated coaches, accessible transportation continues to play an integral role in not only taking people to West Palm Beach to enjoy a night on Clematis Street or a day walking in The Square, but keeping them there and turning them into new residents, too.

Rapid growth, especially when coupled with the arrival of large, successful businesses to an area still coming into its own, could create an environment where standalone spots are swallowed whole by chains. But Sturgis does not feel this threat looms over West Palm Beach or anywhere in South Florida for that matter as he watches communities rally around small businesses.

“We’re still seeing a desire for local and regional tenants,” Sturgis said. “A local coffee shop, or the owner of the local bakery where the husband and wife are working there each day, that sort of thing.”

‘Unique Environment’

Clusters of new buildings popping up in a city are not enough to support people’s desire to visit or stay, no matter how nice they may be. Take it from Jordan Rathlev, a senior vice president of Related Southeast, the real estate company behind West Palm’s 360 Rosemary, One Flagler and 515 Fern.

The ability to cultivate a desired lifestyle, whether that revolves around golfing, beach access, walkable downtowns, outdoor restaurants or all of the above, is an important factor in the decision to move, Rathlev said, which is why Related considers those aspects when deciding where and how they want to move forward with particular developments.

“We start to recognize if people want to come and be successful in South Florida, there’s a lot of critical infrastructure pieces that we’re looking to address because they come to these cities, they expect some of the same amenity base and offering that you would have in some of the other world class cities around the country,” Rathlev said.

West Palm’s planning department, which Rathlev said is “very progressive” in encouraging a variety of architectural types, helps achieve that goal. But the city also remains sensible. Developers aren’t constructing buildings 100 stories in the air, he said.

“I don’t think you will ever see West Palm evolve to the scale and density of a Miami and New York, and frankly, I don’t think we personally want it to,” Rathlev said.


Source: SunSentinel

West Palm Beach

Cash me out now?

Some West Palm Beach investors and business owners are selling real estate holdings to buyers hot on the downtown, including to businesses and investors coming to the city or expanding their presence here.

“Exterior of Glidden Spina building in West Palm Beach. (PHOTO CREDIT: Rob Woodham of Glidden Spina)

A prime example is Glidden Spina + Partners Architecture Interior Design Inc. In 2014, the firm paid $1.4 million for an old, empty building, the former Hopkins Marine Hardware store at 207 6th St.

After rehabbing the space, the firm sold the building for a whopping $6.8 million two months ago. The unnamed buyer is a company that plans a family office there, a part of town branded the Flagler Financial District.

Meanwhile, longtime West Palm Beach investor Jonathan Gladstone in recent months quietly sold two properties on Clematis Street for more than $6 million. A longtime local real estate investor, Gladstone said he’s starting to see the economy flash warning signs — even as outside investors continue to clamor for a piece of Florida real estate. In addition to his belief that the real estate market may be at its peak, Gladstone also is concerned about the stock market’s recent volatility and uncertainty over tariffs.

“I’ve been here for 35 years. It’s time for me to change things up,” Gladstone said of his Clematis Street divestments.

However, Gladstone said he still owns 114 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, where Pizza Girls just signed another five-year lease.

With the continued influx of wealthy residents and investors fleeing high-tax states, not everyone is bearish on West Palm Beach. In fact, other property owners think there’s still plenty of room for new deals.

Up for sale is the longtime home of Pioneer Linens, the upscale home furnishings store at 210 Clematis Street. The family that runs the store also owns the building has the property listed for sale for $7 million. The price includes a prime, store-owned parking lot across the street at 209 Clematis Street.

In addition to the vast downstairs retail space, the 15,383-square-foot Pioneer Linens building, constructed in 1925, has upstairs storage space, too. Pioneer Linens building is a family-owned retailer from the prior century still doing business downtown, a rarity nowadays.

In a recent telephone interview, owner Penny Murphy didn’t want to talk much about the listing, but she said the store isn’t shutting down. The listing more is a testing of the market’s appetite for the property, at a time when Murphy is fairly fed up with the constant construction and disruption along Clematis Street.

Lately, the city has been working to turn the eastern end of Clematis Street into the same curb-less look done with the 300 block, in a bid to make the street more pedestrian friendly.

If the building sells for the price Murphy wants, she indicated a Pioneer Linens store would stay in business downtown, but she wasn’t specific. Given the sales activity in downtown lately, it’s possible Murphy could get her price.

Take the Glidden Spina building, which wasn’t even listed for sale. After buying the rundown building, Keith Spina spent $700,000 to design a cool, funky space that features a coffee bar and pool table. The property’s location is just steps from Flagler Drive and the waterfront.

Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, said she was contacted by a broker representing the owner of a family office from the Northeast. The family office was looking around for space downtown but was keen for any other buildings that were available. Spina was open to a visit, Smallridge said.

Smallridge recalled that when Spina first bought the 6th Street marine supply store, he was ribbed about building out the firm in a 1950s-era building on a side street that no one even knows about. But who’s laughing now? The family office officials took one look at the Glidden Spina space, and that was that.

“They sent someone over who said, ’We’d love to have your building — and everything in it, ” Spina said.

As for Gladstone, the sale of the 537 and 539 Clematis building, now home to MedMen marijuana dispensary, caps years of frustration with the street. He tried for years to find a suitable retail tenant for the space, first bringing in Habatat Galleries and later Footwear & More shoe store.

Recently, the city changed zoning rules downtown to allow for non-retail uses on Clematis. That allowed him to lease the property to MedMen. Last month, a California-based real entity linked to a real estate investment trust bought the building.

The changed zoning rules also are giving a new use for the former Mac Fabrics building, which Gladstone recently sold an investment group. The 426 and 428 Clematis Street building will be the new West Palm Beach headquarters of Suffolk Construction,which built The Bristol luxury condominium on Flagler Drive.

Jeffrey Attanasio, Suffolk vice president of operations, said the company is looking forward to having a visible presence downtown and being part of the urban core.

“We’re very excited about it,”Attanasio said. “The 9,000 square foot space, which features tall ceilings, is being designed to allow for collaboration among the office’s 40 employees.”

He expects the offices to be completed by year-end. Suffolk’s new Clematis Street office will be convenient to the Virgin Trains/Brightline station, which employees already use to go to and from the Miami office.

“In addition, employees now working in the company’s Phillips Point office space are excited about being closer to lunch, art and entertainment options,” Attanasio said.

Suffolk isn’t the only company seeking to expand its presence downtown. Big Time Restaurant Group just bought another office next to its existing suite of offices at 400 Clematis Street.

“The restaurant company, which owns Rocco’s Tacos, City Cellar, Grease, Louie Bossi’s and Elisabetta’s, among other eateries, needs more space as it continues to expand operations,” said Big Time partner Todd Herbst.

Big Time’s second-floor offices are above the CVS on the southwest corner of Clematis Street and Dixie Highway. In October, Big Time will close on the purchase of a $1.1 million office that features 3,000 square space, substantially adding to its existing 5,000 square foot operation.

“With 17 restaurants, we need more space to put more people in human resources and accounts payable,” Herbst said.

Once the deal closes, Big Time plans to punch through the wall to create the bigger office complex.

As for Spina, he’s busy designing his new office space. He just leased 8,000 square feet in a ground-floor space part of Flagler Banyan Square, the mixed-use project being along Flagler Drive. The space is in ground-floor retail in the Oversea apartment complex on Olive Avenue. In addition to the apartments, Flagler Banyan Square will feature a hotel dubbed The Ben, plus a separate building that will house another Big Time-branded Italian restaurant.

Spina said he’s under the gun to get the space built out by a Dec. 1 move-in date. But he’s philosophical about the move.

“The city always is seeking to bring new business to the downtown,” Spina said. “And the story of his architecture building is one example of how it can be done.”

As a result, he’s bullish on the downtown’s prospects.

“I bought an old building, invested in it and brought 30 people to work there everyday,” Spina said. “Now we’ve got a company bringing 20 people and we’re going to expand into a new building. ”


Source: Palm Beach Post