With ‘almost nothing’ left to develop in Wellington, developers could set their sights on existing properties — and already are.
Take a look at the most recent applications for development in Wellington and you might notice a trend. Instead of eyeing open property for development, builders are pitching new uses for already-occupied land. It’s a redevelopment trend that residents can expect to see more of as the village largely is built-out, officials say.
Redevelopment is not a new concept for Wellington. In the Wellington Country Plaza on the corner of Forest Hill Boulevard and Wellington Trace, a former Blockbuster was transformed into a Starbucks and BurgerFi. Up the road at the corner of Wellington Trace and Greenview Shores Boulevard, a former Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through restaurant was repurposed into a Taco Bell. And at the corner of State Road 7 and Forest Hill Boulevard, a small retail outparcel was torn down to make way for a Chase bank.
“Residents should get used to seeing properties transform,” Planning, Zoning and Building Director Bob Basehart said. “The available undeveloped land in the village is down to almost nothing.”
One of the largest undeveloped sites in Wellington is the K-Park property on the southwest corner of Stribling Way and State Road 7. The village-owned piece of land has been the subject of development speculation in the past, but right now is part of a land-bank effort with no plans in the foreseeable future, officials have said.
“Another 65 acres of open land is just north of Wellington Regional Medical Center. But plans are in the works to create a mixed-use hub there with residential, retail, assisted-living and more,” Basehart said.
So where can residents expect to see more redevelopment? Basehart pointed to four key areas.
The Mall at Wellington Green
While the mall has not submitted any formal applications, a recent Palm Beach Post public records request revealed the mall’s owner, Starwood Realty, is considering redeveloping the former Nordstrom anchor space and part of the surrounding parking lot. The project could include residential, retail, restaurants and outdoor recreation space, the records show.
Defunct Golf Courses
Neighbors in 2017 fought potential redevelopment on golf courses at Polo West and Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. The golf courses’ owners, a pair of companies controlled by developer Glenn Straub, had applied to change the uses allowed on the properties. The changes could have paved the way for development, opponents argued. Since then, several concepts have pitched for each club’s golf courses, including residential neighborhoods, equestrian properties and in one case a tennis ranch. None have made it past the concept phase.
Older Commercial Properties
Residents already can see redevelopment efforts on older commercial properties in Wellington. While not seeing a change in use, the McDonald’s at Greenview Shores and Wellington Trace is getting a significant facelift, including a lobby renovation and small expansion and a second drive-through order lane.
Along the State Road 7 corridor, the owner of the former Romano’s Macaroni Grill in front of Whole Foods has proposed tearing down the building to construct something larger that would house two smaller restaurants and a retail store.
Older Residential Properties
With more multifamily homes in Wellington passing the 40-year-old mark, Basehart said residents should expect to see some redevelopment happen here as well. In some places, property owners already have built larger or more modern homes after tearing down aging structures.
Source: Palm Beach Post