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West Palm Beach & Palm Beach County

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Here's a thread for information and news articles about events in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County.

Communities covered (not an exhaustive list):

West Palm Beach

Palm Beach

Boca Raton

Delray Beach

Boynton Beach

Lake Worth

Riviera Beach

Palm Beach Gardens

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Projects and Construction!

Recently Completed, Under Construction, and Planned


610 Clematis

Click Here for more info


Esplanade Grande

Click Here for more info


The Slade

Click Here for more info.


The Strand

Click Here for more info


Magnolia Court

Click Here for more info


The Annex at Magnolia Court

Click Here for more info


One City Plaza

Click Here for more info


Two City Plaza

Click Here for more info


Opera Place

Click Here for more info



Click Here for more info


The Whitney

Click Here for more info


Cityplace South Tower

Click Here for more info.


Cityplace Tower

Click Here for more info


The Edge

Click Here for more info


The Harrick

Click Here for more info


Clarkes Hotel

Click Here for more info


Palladio Terrace

Click Here for more info


The Place Via Clematis

Click Here for more info


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Last time I was in WPB I was really surprised with all the new construction. It will be no time before City Place and downtown are connected completely together.

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Indeed, projects like Opera Place and 610 Clematis will be at strategic places to help better connect the different downtown districts. Also, check back occaisionally to the P&C list, as I may update it, as long as the EDIT button allows me.

In a side story, I thought I'd post some pics of Palm Beach Atlantic University. I'll be attending here this fall, and they have a pretty nice campus at the southern end of downtown, by the Intracoastal Waterway. It's an awesome urban campus, with everything in walking distance. Here's some of the most recent buildings:

Baxter Hall: dorms


Greene Complex: athletics/cafe


Vera Lea Rinker Hall: music


Oceanview Hall: campus store/parking garage/ dorms


DeSantis Family Chapel


Warren Library: under construction


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Delray proposes tougher cafe rules aimed at safer, cleaner downtown

By Mireidy Fernandez

Staff Writer

Posted January 25 2005

Delray Beach -- Sidewalk cafes will have to adhere to tougher city-imposed rules if the City Commission agrees with recommendations made Monday by the Planning and Zoning Board.

After listening to several business owners and residents, the board voted in favor of modifying standards for restaurants that provide outdoor dining. The issue will go before city commissioners at their Feb. 15 meeting.

The revision calls for sidewalk cafe owners to be charged $3 per square foot of outdoor space per year in lieu of the current $50 annual flat fee, to pressure-clean their outdoor dining area at least once a week and to follow an existing rule that they leave a 5-foot pedestrian pathway as a safety measure.

There is growing concern in the city that many of downtown Delray Beach's 145 sidewalk cafes aren't adhering to cleanliness standards and set up tables and chairs in the required 5-foot pedestrian pathway, said Lula Butler, the city's community improvement director.

"We believe this is reasonable and fair," Butler said of the suggested changes. "We looked at a lot of ordinances and visited other areas to look at what they were doing. A lot of cities charge you for parking and charge you by the seat or by the table."

Mark Krall, a Planning and Zoning Board member, agreed with the conclusions brought forth by members of the Clean & Safe Committee established by the Downtown Development Authority. The committee was organized to address the cleanliness and overall appearance of the area.

"It's reached a point where the bulk of this is necessary," Krall said.

Under the new $3-per-square-foot rule, a restaurant with a 560-square-foot outdoor dining area, which could accommodate up to 15 tables, would be charged an annual permit fee of $1,680. Restaurants that provide outdoor seating where tables are close to the curb will be required to remove the tables from curbside, Butler said. Those who continue to violate the new rule could face losing their outdoor cafe status for up to six months after three warnings.

Mary Colacino, manager of Starbucks in downtown Delray Beach, urged the Planning and Zoning Board to ease up on the steep penalty because she needs outdoor dining to maintain her clientele, and if she follows the 5-foot rule, there won't be enough room for tables.

"I do have tables out by the curb," Colacino said. "I definitely would like you to rethink the stiff penalty."

Joseph Berger, a city resident who said he's a frequent patron of sidewalk cafes, told the board how, in his view, dozens of restaurants along the downtown strip were intruding on the 5-foot pedestrian pathway.

"Five feet isn't enough, especially with the amount of traffic we have in season," Berger said.

When it comes to the downtown business corridor, keeping the area clean and safe are priorities for the city, Mayor Jeff Perlman told the Sun-Sentinel.

"We want to strike a balance and be friendly to downtown restaurants, but, by the same token, these restaurants are using public right of ways to enhance their businesses," he said. "I've been a little concerned about maintaining the look of downtown Delray. We really don't want to have a grimy look. We want to make sure the look we have is clean and gives people a sense of safety."

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I have mixed emotions on this article. I go to a charter school in the heart of Downtown Delray, and I really love its urban atmosphere. (I really should do a photo tour for this site...) All the sidewalk cafes are nice, and they really enhance the street scene on Atlantic Avenue. And in the daytime, it's easy to walk by the tables, because it's not that crowded. But at night, and especially during special events, the street gets packed! It's like a traffic jam to walk by sometimes.

I think they should've done an ordincance, where cafes have to leave more room during special events (we have some event like twice a month, no lie!). That way, they can keep their sidewalk business during the regular days.

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County moves toward final alternative Scripps site

Brian Bandell

Palm Beach County commissioners say they hope to select a backup site for the Scripps Research Institute by Feb. 24, but refused to negotiate this morning with environmental groups insisting the county abandon its original choice of Mecca Farms.

The commission voted 6-1 to eliminate Parcel 19 in Jupiter as an alternative site.

The argument against the 858-acre site on Indiantown Road, on which WCI Communities plans a golf course community, is it couldn't accommodate the 8 million square feet the county wants for the research park.

The remaining alternative sites are the 682-acre Briger property in Palm Beach Gardens near Abacoa and 610 acres in the Florida Research Park (formerly known as the Palm Beach Park of Commerce) along the Bee Line Highway in western part of the county.

"We need to start eliminating the chaos," Commissioner Mary McCarty said of the county's eight-month evaluation of sites from Riviera Beach to sugar fields. "Let's get this down to Mecca and an alternative site that's acceptable to this board."

Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti has suggested mediation with environmental groups suing to stop development on the 1,919-acre Mecca Farms site west of Palm Beach Gardens.

Gov. Jeb Bush suggested in a letter the county do so and resolve the situation by late February.

However, Lisa Interlandi, of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, said no amount of mediation would cause her group to accept development on Mecca Farms.

"It's a shame that while we want to bring an entire industry to Palm Beach County, that they don't even want to discuss it," Masilotti said, rejecting the idea of remediation.

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Environmentalists balk at Scripps mediation proposal

By Cadence Mertz

Staff writer

Posted January 26 2005

Palm Beach County commissioners on Tuesday said they could not mediate a stalemate over where to build the envisioned Scripps Florida biotech community.

Commissioners said environmentalists are unwilling to discuss building on the chosen site, Mecca Farms, a former orange grove in northern Palm Beach County. Without Mecca Farms on the table, mediation cannot occur, they said.

Environmentalists on Tuesday rejected Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal for mediation calling it an "ultimatum" and "absurd." In a letter this week, Bush had outlined a plan for negotiating to build Scripps Florida on the orange grove.

Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said Bush "is obviously disappointed by the decision today" and at the environmental groups' unwillingness to "come to the table in a good faith effort."

Commissioners did inch toward a long-awaited decision on alternatives to Mecca Farms. They eliminated one potential location for Scripps Florida and decided to decide next month which of the other two sites could work. They agreed to meet up to three times in February to select a back-up site for Scripps East Coast headquarters. The "drop dead date" for a decision will be Feb. 24, commission Chairman Tony Masilotti said.

The board interrogated environmental attorney Lisa Interlandi over whether environmentalists would discuss building Scripps Florida on Mecca Farms. Interlandi, asked to address the board though no public comment was supposed to occur, said she saw no point in sitting down to mediate over Mecca Farms when environmentalists repeatedly have stated they see no workable solution on the site. Commissioners said they could not mediate with a group that already had made up its mind.

"It's like pounding your head against a brick wall," Commissioner Burt Aaronson said. Several environmental groups have filed suit to block construction of the biotech village on Mecca Farms -- saying the development would trigger a damaging ripple effect on the surrounding rural and open lands. Interlandi represents several of the plaintiffs.

Commissioners and county staff have been meeting since June to discuss alternatives to Mecca Farms. Construction of Scripps Florida on the grove was to start this month. Environmental groups advocate moving to an alternative site.

But after months of research, questions remain about the alternatives, including how much traffic the surrounding roads can handle, the timing of permits and the costs. Commissioners asked county employees to get the answers in time for a Feb. 15 meeting so they can discuss which of two sites will remain the backup.

"It's the same thing I've said all along: We can make any site work so long as it accommodates Scripps and fulfills the state's vision," said Dr. Richard Lerner, president of The Scripps Research Institute. "We need to just get this thing done."

Commissioners on Tuesday cut Parcel 19 -- 800 acres in Jupiter -- since it cannot hold the requisite 8 million square feet for the research park there. Still in the running are the Briger tract, 700 acres in Palm Beach Gardens, and the Florida Research Park on Bee Line Highway near the Pratt & Whitney plant. County reviews of the alternatives find that the Florida Research Park would be the cheapest alternative.

When Bush entered the fray earlier this week -- it was the governor who lured Scripps to Florida 15 months ago -- he indicated the county should first try mediation with environmentalists to find a way to build the project on Mecca Farms. The search for alternative sites should be a separate issue, not included in the mediation discussion, Bush wrote.

"We just don't think the solution can lie in any way on Mecca Farms so we want to move the discussion along further," Interlandi said when called to the podium Tuesday.

Bush's proposal stated that any version of the research park must have 8 million square feet of laboratory and office space, 375,000 square feet for Scripps. It should have a hospital and a university research facility, he wrote.

"He has stated minimum terms that make compromise impossible," Interlandi said. "It leaves no room for compromise whatsoever."

Joanne Davis of 1000 Friends of Florida called it an "ultimatum." Attorney Richard Grosso, of the Environmental & Land Use Law Center, said he couldn't believe Bush would think the environmental groups would agree to mediate under the "absurd" terms in the letter.

State Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, who has worked hard to promote the idea that mediation could work, said he hoped it might still happen but that the parties need to come to the table voluntarily.

Commissioner Mary McCarty said the county has a defensible legal position on Mecca Farms and could litigate the lawsuits it faces over the planned construction on Mecca Farms. Commissioners said they were anxious to make decisions and get the project going again.

"We are moving forward to attract the largest economic catalyst South Florida has ever seen," Masilotti said. "It's not easy."

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Former IBM land in Boca sprawling with new owners

550-acre area is now serving a variety of uses

By Luis F. Perez

Staff Writer

Posted February 3 2005

Boca Raton -- It's a swath of land that helped shape the city, and it's undergoing a major transformation that will influence the area for years.

International Business Machine Corp's announcement 10 years ago that it planned to leave its home, a sprawling, 550-plus-acre office complex on Yamato Road, sent shock waves through the community. Local leaders worried they wouldn't be able to fill the historic space where IBM designed its personal computer.

"The city was very fearful we would have this big white elephant on our hands," Mayor Steven Abrams said.

But since then, developers and local governments have used that last large tract of undeveloped land in the city to create a boom of private and public projects. A train station, retail and office complex, dog park and a new library are among projects under construction on the land adjacent to T-Rex Corporate Center @ Boca Raton. Several projects will be completed this year.

When they're finished, Boca Raton will reach a milestone -- it will be built out. But the high-tech company's legacy also will include saving large open spaces that may have ended up in developers' hands otherwise.

IBM sold its land in 1996 to a group of local investors called Blue Lake Inc., which sold the property to T-Rex Boca four years later. In 2003, T-Rex sold several parcels to developers, sparking a construction boom.

Ned Siegel, a Boca Raton developer, teamed with Malcolm Butters, based in Deerfield Beach, to buy 55 acres from T-Rex to build a retail and office complex called Boca Village that is under construction.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority bought about seven acres from Siegel and Butters for $2.7 million and plans to finish building a new train station in April. The authority's second-phase plans call for more office and retail surrounding the train station.

Plans for Boca Village include putting up at least 12 buildings with two plots of land set aside for future development. Siegel said the idea is to create a pedestrian-friendly village where people work and have access to nearby shopping and mass transit.

Stiles Corp. of Fort Lauderdale bought 23 acres from T-Rex, and sold it to Office Depot, which planned to move its headquarters from Delray Beach. Late last year, however, Office Depot reversed its plans and sold the property back to Stiles. The company is deciding what to do with the land that it, or a buyer, will probably build on, said Nancy Brusher, a company spokeswoman.

Principle Properties bought about eight acres from T-Rex and is building The Shoppes of Blue Lake, four buildings with about 50,000 square feet of shops. Gerald Berson, a Principal partner, said he hopes to finish by May.

"We feel with all that is happening there, this will become a very important part of Boca Raton," Berson said.

South of Spanish River Boulevard, the Palm Beach County School District bought 12 acres of city land once owned by IBM, renovated a building and opened Don Estridge High Tech Middle School last fall. Just south of the school, the city is completing the dog park.

T-Rex still owns about 130 acres. The old IBM buildings today are mostly filled with a mix of small and large tenants from bank offices to data processing operations to supermarket tabloids publisher American Media Inc., said Cliff Preminger, T-Rex president. The company has no plans to build on its remaining land, but that could change, he said.

While it may not have been the company's intent, IBM actually saved land from developers. T-Rex sold 300 acres in 2000 to the city for $30 million of taxpayer-approved bonds with the intent of saving green space and building parks.

That was an important initiative by the City Council to control density and traffic and provide more land for civic uses, Abrams said.

Afterward, the city sold about 80 acres of natural area to Palm Beach County, which has set it aside as a preserve called the Pondhawk Natural Area. Plans for the remaining 220 acres include the dog park set to open this month, completing construction on the library that was started in April, and adding a police- and fire-training center.

"The [office] complex itself is of significant importance to the history of Boca Raton," said Susan Gillis, archivist at the Boca Raton Historical Society.

But it's essential to recognize that natural areas have survived because IBM owned a vast property other developers weren't able to swoop in and build on, she said.

"I think it's really exciting that we have any natural landscape left in the eastern part of our county so that we can take a look at what Boca used to look like," Gillis said.

The natural area is a reminder of Florida before it became a magnet for builders and it abuts landmark buildings that symbolize the modern history of Boca Raton, Gillis said.

When IBM announced its decision to move out, it wasn't clear what would happen with the 20-building campus just west of Interstate 95 and south of Yamato Road that crosses Spanish River Boulevard. City and business leaders worried about filling the huge space.

"When IBM moved out, there was a tremendous amount of fear in this city," Siegel said.

IBM was part of the fiber of the city and county, Siegel said.

"It was a foundation on which this whole area was developed, along with Arvida," he said, referring to the company that sold IBM its property in 1966.

IBM had about 9,600 employees in the complex in the mid-1980s. During the next decade, IBM trimmed most of its Boca Raton workforce until 1995 when it announced plans to vacate. The company sold the property to Blue Lake for about $48 million.

"People thought we were foolish," said Michael Masanoff, a lawyer and a Blue Lake investor along with Siegel.

The investors bought a 2 million-square-foot office complex with no tenants they dubbed Blue Lake Corporate Center. But they had a vision.

"We came in and we had a plan to make a single-tenant facility into a multi-tenant facility," Masanoff said.

Blue Lake was successful in converting the space and leasing 1.2 million square feet within a year, Masanoff said.

In 2000, Blue Lake sold the property to T-Rex Boca for about $150 million and the property's name changed to T-Rex Corporate Center @ Boca Raton. The buildings that IBM once called home remain.

"What we have is a very unique property," Preminger said.

IBM was able to blend form, function and aesthetics into an architecturally significant, award-winning design, he said. But that wasn't always so clear to everyone. When Preminger drove down Yamato Road 15 years ago, he didn't even know the IBM buildings were there because of all the vegetation, he said. Now with all the construction going on in front of those buildings, they've gained more visibility from the road.

"All of a sudden, we have some curb appeal," Preminger said.

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The original IBM property took a huge chunk from the center of the city. This is by no means an urban area, near "downtown", but it is in a centralized location. It'll be great when the new Tri-Rail station opens up, and a new road is supposedly going to be built to connect Yamato to Spanish River, which will alleviate traffic like it's nobody's business!

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