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A property just west of Florida’s Turnpike near Wellington could be developed as a mixed-use project with a hotel, medical offices and self-storage.

KS Lake Worth LLC filed a small-scale land use amendment titled Lake Worth Crossing with Palm Beach County officials concerning the 9.15-acre site at 8344 Lake Worth Road, plus 4049, 4089 and 4111 Hooks Road. It currently has a barn and a single-family home but it’s mostly vacant.

The property is currently zoned “agricultural residential.” The county approved a development plan there in 2009 for a “lifestyle center” with a mix of restaurants, hotel, residential, and live/work units that mix homes and workplaces in a single space.

KS Lake Worth submitted a preliminary site plan to the county showcasing a 196,970-square-foot project. It would consist of a 127-room hotel in three stories totaling 53,690 square feet, 107,030 square feet of self-storage in three stories, and 36,000 square feet of medical offices in three stories. There would be 348 surface parking spaces.

 

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An explosion of shops and restaurants is turning Pompano Beach into possibly the top beachside destination between Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach.

Many businesses, attractions and other amenities have recently become available to the public — and much more is on the way. But the evolution also is posing challenges, such as a brand-new parking garage that is already packed full on the weekends. There’s also the hassle of driving around amid all the traffic and construction.

“The development is great. It’s going to help this area a lot more,” says Thomas Savino, of Margate, who has hit the beach in Pompano almost daily for nine years.

All the changes have wowed him: Where he once saw a sleepy community is now a sight for valet services, particularly on the weekends for a restaurant that opened last year.

“The only thing is — I’m scared. Where am I going to park my car with all these people coming?” asks Savino.

Here’s a look at all the changes afoot on this fast-growing stretch of beach.

The Boom

The city has long planned to shape itself into a thriving destination. Already, there are new restaurants and stores, as well as hotel construction underway. The city’s pier, closed to the public since 2017, could be reopened by October, which could help generate even more traffic.

The city’s new popularity is obvious: The 625-space “Pier Garage” that opened in 2016 is often filled to capacity on weekends. Other signs that throngs of people are coming: The Beach House restaurant that opened last year has found much success, said developer Tim Hernandez, who is building a development referred to as the Pompano Beach Fishing Village.

“I feel like there’s a lot of activity in Pompano for good reason,” Hernandez said. “It’s coming up. It’s going to be a great place — a true destination.”

Among the projects that’ll be part of Pompano Beach’s Fishing Village, east of State Road A1A, between Northeast Second and Northeast Third Streets:

— A 150-room, dual-branded Hilton hotel, from Home2Suites and Tru. It’ll be the first to be built in a city-owned beachside redevelopment area in more than 50 years. Its groundbreaking took place this past Wednesday.

Alvin’s Island, a beach-apparel shop that’s under construction. It’ll open later this year.

— The Oceanic at Pompano Beach, a restaurant with an ocean liner-inspired design. It’s two or three months from opening.

Lucky Fish Beach Bar and Grill, which intends to replicate a Keys-style open-air tiki bar. It’s under construction and may open late this summer.

— A building that’ll have a BurgerFi, Kilwin’s and a Cannoli Kitchen. Construction is expected to begin in a month or two.

— A banquet space west of the Oceanic restaurant on Pompano Beach Boulevard.

“The objective is to create a space suitable for wedding receptions, charity events, corporate meetings and private parties,” according to city records.

There is no start date yet for construction.

“The facility will be two stories and offer 18,000 square feet, with a rooftop bar amid ocean views,” said Tom Prakas, the leasing agent for Pompano Beach Fishing Village.  “We have so much going on here and this space is going to fill out in the next two years.”

Finding Solutions

To battle the traffic and parking crunch, the city is envisioning a beachside garage — in addition to one that already opened. The city says perhaps a hotel or grocery store would help pay for it. City officials said the proposed parking garage, offering 700 additional spots, would help draw even more visitors.

Requests for developers to make proposals for the 3-acre project — both for the new garage and accompanying projects — are due by May 31. The lot, at 109 N. Ocean Blvd., is west of State Road A1A, east of Riverside Drive and south of Northeast Second Avenue.

“We can’t ignore the issue — there’s building going on and there’s demand for parking,” said Assistant City Manager Suzette Sibble. “The city doesn’t want demand to outpace the supply. That won’t make anybody happy. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and be strategic. The parking garage — to be built on land that is now surface parking, north of The Plaza at Oceanside condos — could top five floors.”

It would either be self-parking or a hybrid of self-parking and an automatic car stacker, like an elevator for cars. Because it is estimated to be in the $17 million range, new development could offset the costs.

A beachside grocery store also would help replace the grocery store that was previously in the Oceanside Shopping Center, which was redeveloped into condos.

Currently, most beachside residents travel across a bridge to buy groceries from the Publix at 2511 E. Atlantic Blvd. But if a new supermarket were to open closer to the beach, it may help ease traffic across the Intracoastal Waterway bridge.

“We are very excited about it,” Sibble said. “It would be nice to get something the residents would be proud to look at, they don’t have to go across the bridge to Publix.” The possibilities are “like a Trader Joe’s type, an off-the-wall, grocery-type store — food, wine, cheese — a use for them to be proud of.”

Not all residents are pleased with an onslaught of construction near the water in what the city considers progress.

“I think they’re going nuts with this development phase,” said former Commissioner Kay McGinn. “They are running out of things to develop.”

But other locals are thrilled.

“This was a very quaint little city, and I think it will explode in the next few years,” said Patti Fanucci, who works at the Sandbar Snacks concession stand. “Pompano needed a face-lift. It’s making us more of a city.”

“Tourists are attracted because of the width of Pompano’s beach, but people can’t come to Pompano if they don’t have parking,” said Johnny Coppola, a Pompano Beach snowbird from Montreal. “More hotels, more condos, more retail means more money and money is good for everybody. It’s just as important as the blood in your body. Too much going out and not enough coming in, you die.”

 

Source: SunSentinel

Meet the new year, same as the old year. Or maybe better.

Palm Beach County’s economy is expected to continue its strong growth, as the year wrapped up with a still-booming real estate market, combined with continued business growth in the area.

President Donald Trump’s part-time residence at his Mar-a-Lago mansion on Palm Beach has drawn attention to the county both as a business and tourist destination. But even prior to Trump’s January inauguration, the county already was flush with new hotel construction geared to the rise in tourism.

“The county’s newest hotel, the Hilton at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, had a strong first with 85 percent occupancy,” according to Ken Himmel, president of Related Urban, the hotel’s developer.

More hotels are under construction, including an Aloft Hotel in Delray Beach and a Canopy Hotel in West Palm Beach. Tourism wasn’t the county’s only booming field.

“The past 12 months saw growth in a variety of industries,” said Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board, the county’s business recruitment arm.

Among the companies growing are Bee Access, a scaffolding manufacturer in West Palm Beach; Jupiter-based Parametric Solutions, which engineers and makes gas turbine engines for aircraft and industrial power applications; and GeoGlobal Partners, which designs and makes pumps and valves in West Palm Beach.

“We’re one of the rare counties that has six to eight solid industries,” Smallridge said, ticking off manufacturing, equestrian, tourism, agribusiness, financial services, corporate headquarters and distribution and logistics.

Another growing area: Companies run by entrepreneurs. Moderning Medicine, a Boca Raton-based medical records firm and one of the fastest-growing technology companies in South Florida, said in 2017 it plans to hire 800 people, in addition to the more than 500 it already employs.

Helping boost more corporate growth in the coming year: The Brightline passenger train, slated to start regular service in the coming weeks.

“Companies already are saying they feel more comfortable opening offices in Palm Beach County because they know they can pull employees from Broward or Miami-Dade counties,” Smallridge said.

Of course, the biggest driver of Palm Beach County remains real estate. Growth, particularly in the housing market, was hot in 2017 and will remain so in 2018, experts say. This is despite the lengthy real estate boom that now is stretching into its eighth year.

Housing analyst Jack McCabe said he expected to see a market correction on the horizon, but he now thinks a slowdown will be delayed by the the tax legislation passed by Congress. The sweeping tax law limits deductions for state and local taxes.

“This is bad news for residents in such high-tax states as New Jersey and New York but good news for Florida, which has no state income tax and already is a destination for residents from the Northeast,” said McCabe, of McCabe Consulting in Deerfield Beach.

It’s not just the housing market that will get a boost from the tax bill, business leaders said.

“Executives already have been making inquiries about bringing their companies to Palm Beach County,” Smallridge said. “We’ve seen 20 plus calls over the last month. There’s already a steady stream of inquiries by companies seeking to relocate. Among them are corporate headquarters and financial services firms out of Manhattan, Boston, Greenwich and even Chicago. Tax attorneys in the Northeast are hard at work figuring out how to domicile companies in Florida.

If they consider moving companies, corporate leaders will find rental housing available but for-sale homes difficult to find. That’s because there’s been little new home construction during the past decade.

“Homeowners are staying in their homes longer, prompting a number of residents to remodel existing homes,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist of HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with local service professionals to complete home improvement or remodeling jobs.

Although new apartment complexes are cropping up throughout the county, many come with rents that can reach nearly $2,000 a month or more.

“It’s very tough for people to rent right now, and if they do, it’s hard to save up for any down payment for a home,” McCabe said.

Among the new apartment complexes that opened in 2017: The 400-unit Altis apartments in Boca Raton; the 205-unit apartment tower dubbed The Alexander in West Palm Beach. Other projects commenced construction, including the 315-unit Broadstone City Center and the 290-unit Park-Line in West Palm Beach, both of which are expected to attract renters who may use the Brightline train station nearby.

High land prices have made it difficult for home developers to find locations to build. Some are turning to infill sites, such as golf courses, for new homes, while others are looking west. In July, Minto Communities started construction on Westlake, a newly-created city set to contain 4,500 new homes. The city is off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road north of Okeechobee Boulevard.

Also in demand are new offices and industrial space. But both are hard to find, said Rebel Cook of Rebel Cook Real Estate and president of the Economic Forum, a business group.

“Industrial space, particularly small sizes, is virtually impossible to find, crimping growth by companies that want to expand their businesses here,” said Cook. “If you’re a growing company and you want to go from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, I can’t find you anything here. This is the first time in 35 years of selling warehouses that I don’t have one warehouse for sale. Not one.”

New offices could be coming to West Palm Beach but not right away. In early 2018, The Related Cos. of New York is expected to propose construction of an urban-style office building next to CityPlace in West Palm Beach. In addition, billionaire Palm Beach investor Jeff Greene has pledged he will start construction on One West Palm, a twin-tower office/hotel/housing complex set for 550 Quadrille Blvd. in West Palm Beach.

 

Source: Palm Beach Post

Could IBM’s former office complex in Boca Raton become more than just a hub of technology — and become a hub for housing, too?

Sources say the Boca Raton Innovation Campus , as it is now called, is being marketed for sale by its current owners. This time, potential buyers are taking a look at doing something more with the Boca Raton site than using it only for leased office space. The site could become a mixed-use complex featuring apartments, shops and a hotel, too.

Plans are afoot to seek the city’s OK to build 720 apartments, 20 townhomes, a 120-room hotel and 81,000 square feet of retail space. The property’s owners are San Francisco-based Farallon Capital Management and New York-based Next Tier HD, which bought the property for an undisclosed sum in January 2015. They are said to be working closely with Boca Raton to allow new zoned uses for the 130 acres on which the property sits.

The move is in line with changes made to the nearby Park at Broken Sound, formerly the Arvida Park of Commerce, where the city has allowed homes and shops to built on land that formerly was limited to light industrial research buildings. The city is placing a greater emphasis on housing that sits near public transportation, and the Boca Raton Innovation Campus has a Tri-Rail station directly to its east.

The iconic 1.7 million-square-foot building that once housed IBM’s software and hardware developers could remain intact, or parts of it could make way for other uses. But it’s unlikely large portions of the old IBM building will be felled.

In addition to its historic value, the complex houses a range of corporate tenants with varying lease lengths. Tenants include Bluegreen Corp., Tyco Integrated Security, TransUnion, Modernizing Medicine and MDVIP.

Since the purchase, Next Tier and its on-site broker, CBRE, have brought occupancy to 71 percent from 55 percent. More deals are in the works, too. A broker for Eastdil Secured, which is marketing the property, could not be reached for comment.

“Although the property has historic value, it does not have a historic designation from either the city of Boca Raton which could limit any change to the buildings or the National Register of Historic Places, according to Susan Gillis, Boca Raton Historical Society curator. “But we would like it to.

The former IBM building is special to fans of both technology and architecture. In December 1966, IBM announced its purchase of 550 acres west of what is now Interstate 95, south of Yamato Road and east of Military Trail. IBM was the first company to build an industrial site in the scrubland of the west, according to the Boca Raton Historical Society.

The building was designed by Marcel Breuer and Thomas Gatje and featured buildings for administration and product testing, development labs, manufacturing and distribution. The buildings feature a unique Y-shaped design, considered an engineering marvel for its day.

“The building is considered an oustanding example of the Brutalist style of architecture,” Gillis said.

The building isn’t just important for its aesthetic elements. The architects also designed the structure to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

“They put a lot of thought into those buildings, way back when,” said Michael Masanoff, who was part of the Blue Lake Ltd. group that bought the building from IBM in 1996.

On March 31, 1970, 3,500 people, led by IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson Jr., attended the ceremonial dedication of the new facility, according to IBM’s website.

Over time IBM dominated the city, and “wild ducks” flew high in Boca Raton. That was the nickname of a small group of engineers, marketing experts and communications specialists led by Philip “Don” Estridge. They designed the first personal computer, which was introduced in 1981. (On Aug. 2, 1985, Estridge died in the crash of Delta Flight 191 in Dallas. A former IBM building became the Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, named in his honor.)

By the mid-1980s, IBM employed nearly 10,000 people at this site and in office buildings clustered in the area. But by the end of that decade, IBM had stopped manufacturing at the site, moving this function to North Carolina. Then the software development team moved to Texas.

With employment dwindling, IBM sold the property for $46 million in 1996. The property became the Blue Lake Corporate Center, then the T-Rex Corporate Center, when an ownership group bought it from the Blue Lake group for $138.65 million in 2000.

Private equity fund Blackstone Group bought the site for $192.7 million in 2005 and renamed it the Boca Corporate Center & Campus, until Farallon and Next Tier renamed it the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, or BRIC.

In the years since IBM left the building, the area around the complex has matured. A lively strip of retail shops now fronts the building along Yamato Road, and a new interstate interchange is nearly complete on the south side of the property, at Spanish River Boulevard.

More importantly, demand for in-town housing is huge, especially since the city is virtually out of space for new homes, leading many developers to snap up golf course to transform into houses.

Owners of the Boca Raton Innovation Campus have worked to brighten up the old office interiors with renovations and amenities, including adding a fitness center and daycare and renovating the conference room and lobbies. And since no one is building new office space in Boca Raton, existing office space is becoming scarce, too.

Also helping boost the property’s allure, particularly on the heels of this hurricane season: The building has its own backup generator, installed by the Blue Lake group years ago.

 

Source: Palm Beach Post