Who’s the new owner of iPic’s planned theater in Delray?

iPic Theater under construction in Delray Beach

iPic Theater set for Delray Beach

iPic Entertainment is underway with construction of a luxury movie theater, office and retail complex in downtown Delray Beach.

But even before the shovels hit the ground this summer, iPic decided to bring aboard its developer, Samuels & Associates, as a partner in the venture, called 4th & 5th Delray.

In May, an iPic entity assigned its contract with the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency to a new entity, dubbed Delray Beach 4th & 5th Avenue LLC.

The LLC’s manager is, in turn, Delray Beach 4th & 5th Avenue Developer LLC, consisting of a Samuels & Associates entity and another iPic entity.

iPic Chief Executive Hamid Hashemi said iPic and Samuels are 50-50 partners in the deal to build the theater complex along Federal Highway, south of Atlantic Avenue between 4th and 5th avenues.

Earlier this year, iPic purchased the property from the CRA for $3.6 million, the same value assigned to the new entity.

A 20-year lease, with several options, has been signed and all the elements of the deal crafted by iPic are the same, Hashemi said. “Nothing is going to change,” Hashemi said. “The use cannot change. It’s a theater and offices.”

Cary Glickstein, Delray Beach’s mayor, agreed. Whatever entity owns the property is limited by the approved uses for a theater, offices, some retail space and a parking garage.

Glickstein said he was comfortable with Samuels & Associates being brought in as a partner in the deal. “iPic are not developers,” Glickstein said. “And this is a complicated project. This is right in Samuels’ wheelhouse, this mixed-use construction project.”

Indeed, Hashemi said he brought Samuels & Associates in as a partner because the company is an experienced developer with a deep knowledge of building mixed-use projects in urban locations. As such, Samuels will handle the “day-to-day” of running the job, Hashemi said.

“Developing in in an urban environment is much different than buidling on 441,” Hashemi said, referring to the western main road of Palm Beach County, which has plenty of wide-open space.

“It takes a high-level of supervision, and they have a team that does this on a day-to-day basis in multiple locations. They’re a good fit for us. But we’re still 50-50 partners in the site and very much involved,” Hashemi said.

Samuels has completed various projects in New England, particularly Boston. For instance, it built Van Ness, a Boston mixed-use project featuring apartments, shops, restaurants and an urban Target retailer.

The company also is familiar with the Palm Beach County market: The Samuels family has a home in Boca Raton, Hashemi said.

Foundation work is underway on the site, said Mark Butters, vice president of Butters Construction, the project’s builder.

Plans are to try to have the project completed by November 2018, barring any weather or government delays out if Butters’ control, he said.

If not completed by year end 2018, then the first quarter of 2019 will be the opening, Hashemi said.

Meanwhile, Hashemi said he’s busy with other deals nationwide. In fact, he said he has 20 other deals in various stages of completion, including in San Francisco and Dallas.

Hashemi’s ambitious expansion will be aided by a planned initial public offering of iPic stock, an offering he hopes will net the company between $30 million to $50 million.

Capital is important for iPic’s expansion. While most Palm Beach County residents are familar with its retrofit of an old theater at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Hashemi said the bulk of its growth is in new theaters.

A successful IPO will bode well for iPic’s headquarters, slated to take office space in the new Delray Beach theater/office complex. The company employs 60 now in its Boca Raton headquarters but Hashemi said the space in Delray Beach can hold up to 150 people, more than double the headquarter’s current job count.

Glickstein said having a publicly-traded company in the heart of downtown Delray Beach “is a good thing for the city,” diversifying its core  with a growing workforce, in addition to the already numerous sources of entertainment and dining.