See which new store just opened at CityPlace

CityPlace

Natuzzi Italia has opened a 9,000-square-foot store at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, a move that signals the shopping, dining and entertainment center continues to boost its home furnishings offerings.

The Italian furniture brand is located on Rosemary Avenue, just south of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

Natuzzi’s products, made in Italy, feature sofas, armchairs, furniture and home furnishing accessories. The company is known for its sleek, contemporary styles.

Natuzzi has six other stores throughout Florida but only one other in Palm Beach County, in Boca Raton. Worldwide, Natuzzi has 1,200 stores.

In a statement, Natuzzi’s global retail chief, Nazzario Pozzi, said the company is moving quickly to expand its presence in the United States.

Plans for Natuzzi’s new store first were revealed to the Palm Beach Post in September 2015 by Ken Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of New York-based Related Cos. and the developer of CityPlace.

At the time, Himmel predicted the store would open in the spring of 2016. It’s not clear why the store is opening more than a year later.

But back in 2015, Himmel said Natuzzi was lured to the site by the presence of a massive  “mansion” being built in the median of Okeechobee Boulevard for Restoration Hardware, a furniture and home furnishings store.

The 60,000-square-foot store is slated to open soon and will kick off Himmel’s plans to transform CityPlace into a home furnishings destination.

CityPlace has changed up its retail roster during its 17 years of operation.

It was designed as a large retail destination, with a number of high-end stores. Then it focused on home furnishings during the real estate boom. It then switched heavily to entertainment and dining when the recession hit.

Lately, women’s retailers have cycled out due to the advent of on-line sales, so Himmel has said home furnishings stores will play an important role at the center.

Last September, The Shade Store, a  Port Chester, N.Y.-based company selling premium custom window treatments, opened at CityPlace.

 

CityPlace sues to evict Revolutions bowling, again

Revolutions at CityPlace

CityPlace has sued Revolutions Bowling Bar & Grille twice this month, and the latest lawsuit looks like the West Palm Beach retail center is serious about evicting the bowling alley — and collecting on guaranties backing a lease.

On June 23, CityPlace filed a Palm Beach County Circuit Court lawsuit, alleging Revolutions owes $429,801 in past due rent.

The lawsuit seeks to enforce a guaranty of $3 million by Revolutions chief executive Bruce Frank. The complaint also seeks to enforce a guaranty by Revolutions’ parent company, Jupiter-based Frank Entertainment Companies.

Frank Entertainment owns Cinebowl & Grille at the Delray Markplace. It also owns the Cinebowl slated to go into the Abacoa entertainment center in Jupiter, a deal just approved by the Jupiter town council.

It’s unclear what effect the guaranty enforcement on Frank Entertainment will have on its plan to go into Abacoa. But the guaranty does state that CityPlace Retail can pursue any of Frank Entertainment’s assets, court records show.

This lawsuit follows an eviction action filed June 2 by CityPlace in county court, seeking to toss Revolutions from the center for failing to pay the rent due by May 15.

This marks the fourth eviction lawsuit CityPlace has filed since Revolutions opened at the center in 2013.

The latest legal actions indicate CityPlace has lost its patience with Revolutions, which operates a high-end bowling alley at the north end of the mixed-use center on Okeechobee Boulevard east of Interstate 95.

Late last year, Revolutions quietly fended off two eviction lawsuits filed against it by CityPlace, according to court records.

Last November, CityPlace Retail sued Revolutions, alleging it was behind on the rent by $141,255 as of October 12, 2016. The Palm Beach County Court lawsuit was settled within days.

But the very next month, CityPlace sued Revolutions again, this time for $78,632. That figure represents one month’s base rent of $56,250, plus taxes, plus $10,441 in back payments for chilled water for the HVAC system.

This lawsuit was settled, too.

In May, Bruce Frank, Revolutions chief executive, said the bowling lane business has been strong. But it’s the food that has struggled to make its mark in a center crowded with competing restaurants, he said.

Late last year, Frank teamed up with Burger & Beer Joint of Boca Raton to offer burgers and other fare to bowlers and visitors. B&B also opened up an outdoor Flair Street bar at Revolutions

Live music, plus the new food and drink additions, should boost Revolutions fortunes, Frank said at the time.

Earlier this year, Frank said Revolutions had invested $7 million in CityPlace.  Frank could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

To read Revolutions’ response to the lawsuit, and its counterclaim against CityPlace, go to mypalmbeachpost.com

Three CityPlace tenants fend off evictions

Revolutions Bowling Bar & Grille at CityPlace recently brought aboard a new food operator, which is a good thing for the bowling alley’s financial future: Late last year, Revolutions quietly fended off not one but two eviction lawsuits filed against it by CityPlace, according to court records.

Revolutions isn’t alone. Two restaurants, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Miami Grill, also were sued for eviction by CityPlace, in West Palm Beach.

In November, CityPlace Retail sued Revolutions, alleging it was behind on the rent by $141,255 as of October 12, 2016. The Palm Beach County Court lawsuit was settled within days.

But the very next month, CityPlace sued Revolutions again, this time for $78,632.

That figure represents one month’s base rent of $56,250, plus taxes, plus an extraordinary $10,441 in back payments for chilled water for the HVAC system. Monthly chilled water costs are $8,739, according to documents in the case.

This lawsuit was settled, too.

Bruce Frank, Revolutions chief executive, said bowling lane business has been strong. But it’s the food that has struggled to make its mark in a center crowded with competing restaurants.

Late last year, Frank teamed up with Burger & Beer Joint of Boca Raton to offer burgers and other fare to bowlers and visitors. B&B also opened up an outdoor Flair Street bar at Revolutions, featuring bartenders tossing drinks in the air along the lines of that fine Tom Cruise film, “Cocktail.”

(The B&B venture has not been without controversy: A Burger & Beer Joint franchisee recently filed a demand for arbitration against the parent company, alleging its franchise was terminated as part of a scheme by B&B to team up with the bowling alley.)

Live music, plus the new food and drink additions, should boost Revolutions fortunes, said Frank, who leads Frank Entertainment Group, based in Jupiter.

“We continue to invest in the project and believe in it,” Frank said. “We are working with the landlord to create the best environment that is financially fair to both sides. We invested $7 million in the project. We have to get something.”

Also sued for eviction in 2016 were a Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise location (allegedly late on the rent to the tune of $38,331) and a Miami Grill franchise (late for $103,294 in rent, the suit claimed.) Both matters were settled.

Dan Finlayson, the Palm Beach Gardens-based franchisee for Miami Grill and the former franchisee of Moe’s, attributed the lawsuits to “personal matters.” Finlayson said he’s settled his debts with CityPlace. In December, he sold Moe’s to another operator.

Since CityPlace’s inception in 2000, the housing, shopping and dining center has been a revolving door of stores and eateries. The 9/11 attacks, the recession, the lack of a convention center hotel, competition from restaurants on Clematis Street and now shifting retail habits by shoppers who prefer e-shopping to the real thing all have battered CityPlace.

Then in January, the center suffered another blow when Macy’s announced it was closing the CityPlace store, which was shuttered in March.

The Macy’s shutdown hurt the center and its tenants, Frank said: “When you close the only department store in the development, people think this whole place is going out of business.”

Sources say most of the tenants at CityPlace are on percentage rent, which means they pay rent based upon a percentage of gross sales. CityPlace’s owners, which include developer The Related Cos., are trying to work out a troubled $150 million construction loan on the project. The loan slipped into default last July and now is in special servicing.

Finlayson has some insight into how CityPlace and its tenants are faring.

“I know CityPlace is having some issues attracting customers, but I think it’s more with the larger restaurants in CityPlace. Moe’s and Miami Grill are two of the smaller stores in the plaza and things are good,” he said.

A Related Cos. official declined to comment on the litigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another convention center hotel looks likely

Hilton West Palm Beach
Hilton West Palm Beach

A top Related Cos. executive confirmed last week that the New York-based company is increasingly likely to build another hotel next to its new Hilton West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

Ken Himmel said Related has been happily surprised by the success of the Hilton, which celebrated its first anniversary last month. The Hilton is at 600 Okeechobee Blvd.

The hotel logged room rates of $270 per night in January, higher than an expected rate of $230. “We made six months worth of profits in January. It’s unbelievable,”  said Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of Related Cos., which developed CityPlace and the Hilton hotel.

Hotel occupancy was 88 percent in January, Himmel added. The hotel “beat every one of our budgets, both occupancy and rates the first year,” Himmel said.

In addition, the convention center is enjoying an unprecedented surge in business thanks to finally having a hotel next door for conventiongoers.

“The convention center has tripled its bookings going forward,” Himmel said.

Those numbers are leading Himmel and other top Related executives to consider adding another 200 rooms on an adjacent parking lot.

It’s a big commitment, but Related is feeling upbeat about the city.

“We have every reason to believe that keeping our investment profile high (in West Palm Beach) is going to make a lot of sense,” Himmel said.

That hotel, which could be a boutique Hilton brand such as the Curio Collection, would share the Hilton’s amenities, including the pool and facilities.

A final decision is expected to be made by year’s end, with a new hotel possible built by the end of 2019, he said.

Himmel said the Hilton has experienced an unexpected boost to its business: Bookings by the media in town to cover President Donald Trump when he visits his part-time Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago.

But having Trump in town hasn’t just been good for Hilton and Related. Himmel said reporters are spending money around Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, too.

Girl power: How three women helped create CityPlace

Lynda J. Harris
Lynda J. Harris

There are city fathers, and then there are city mothers.

Lynda J. Harris was a city mother.

She was the attorney for the Related Cos., which built CityPlace and helped kick off the renaissance of West Palm Beach’s downtown.

Harris died Dec. 14, following an illness and complications from a botched 2013 spinal surgery.

Ken Himmel is president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of New York-based Related Cos.

Here are Himmel thoughts on Harris, in his own words:

I have been leading the development of CityPlace, with my partner Steve Ross (owner of the Miami Dolphins), since its inception and opening in October of 2000.

We began our work together in West Palm Beach in 1998 when we competed with top national developers and got selected to take on this game changing mixed-use development, aspiring to create a new “downtown ” for West Palm and Palm Beach County.

Our decision to enter the competition and enthusiastically compete changed to a ” go for it” mode the day three dynamic professional woman came to our New York headquarters office to pitch us to take a hard look at this small community city and lead a transformational development.

Those three professionals, Pat Pepper (former mayor of West Palm); Nancy Graham (then mayor of West Palm) and Lynda Harris, the leading land use attorney in West Palm Beach, all came to New York that day with a mission: To convince us to give this competition our best effort.

And that we did then, to win the competition. And we’ve been working that vision even to this day.

Behind all that visioning and leasing and marketing and construction was a combination of political leadership and drive from Nancy Graham — and the legal leadership and community understanding that comes with years of successful experience, the full complement of skills and savvy that came with every assignment and challenge that Lyn took on with such commitment and enthusiasm.

Lynda Harris was in a league of her own when it came to legal and community counsel.

The original master plan for the complete 72-acre downtown CityPlace that Lynda Harris and Nancy Graham began with Steve Ross and me 18 years ago continues today under the able guidance and support of our current mayor, Jerry Muoio, as she enthusiastically envisions the next generation of quality growth for West Palm Beach and its downtown.

There is no question in my mind that if Lyn Harris had successfully survived her surgery from three years ago, she would be directly in the middle of all this new exciting development that Mayor Muoio is now leading.

And Lyn would be, as always, the go-to legal and community resource to get things done and built.

Lyn Harris was far more than my lawyer in West Palm. She was a close family friend and provided genuine counsel and friendship to my wife and children, who looked on in awe of what she had sacrificed in her life to achieve her great professional goals.

We will all miss her, but what a wonderful legacy to leave behind, knowing she made the difference in creating a vibrant new community in this special place called West Palm Beach.

Go in peace, Lyn. Your contributions here are a permanent part of this city, never to be forgotten!

 

 

 

Restoration Hardware and its new modern twist

Aquitaine round chandelier by RH Modern
Aquitaine round chandelier by RH Modern

Restoration Hardware is upping its game at West Palm Beach’s CityPlace, bringing in a new line of furniture as construction on a standalone gallery continues next door.

The company, known for its roots as a purveyor of rustic furnishings, has started selling a modern line of furnishings at stores, dubbed RH Modern.

The line features minimalist furnishings likely to appeal a range of buyers, including the younger buyer. RH Modern is being rolled out at Restoration Hardware galleries across the country.

Restoration Hardware worked with top designers to create the home furnishings. Different materials and textures were incorporated into the designs.

Among the RH Modern designs now in West Palm Beach are Jonathan Browning’s elegant brass Aquitaine Round Chandelier and the Italia Chesterfield Sofa, which offers a “contemporary take on the classic silhouette,” according to a press statement.

Italia Chesterfield Sofa
Italia Chesterfield Sofa

 

As Restoration Hardware rolls out this line of home furnishings, work continues on the gallery under construction in the median of Okeechobee Boulevard, just south of CityPlace.

The four-story gallery, dubbed a furniture “mansion,” was first set to be open by now.

But an opening now is slated for March or April due to design changes, including the creation of a rooftop café.

When the Restoration Hardware gallery does open, Restoration Hardware will move there from its location at CityPlace.

The Related Cos., developer of CityPlace, is developing the standalone Restoration Hardware building.

 

Four things to know about CityPlace’s newest tenant

The Shade Store
The Shade Store

CityPlace, the shopping, dining and entertainment mecca in West Palm Beach, just scored a new tenant. But it’s not another clothing store or restaurant.

Instead, it’s The Shade Store, a company selling premium custom window treatments.

The Port Chester, N.Y.-based company features a collection of more than 900 materials for roller shades, solar shades, roman shades and drapery. The store is set to open Sept. 30.

The opening marks the company’s 6th Florida showroom. Other  locations are in Winter Park, Tampa Bay, Estero and the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach. There’s also a shop-in-shop in the Kravet showroom in Naples. A Miami showroom is slated to open this fall.

A store selling window shades doesn’t sound like a typical CityPlace retailer. After all, CityPlace once was replete with clothing stores, such as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, selling all manner of women’s apparel.

But with the contraction in the retail industry as consumers buy clothes more online, many bricks-and-mortar stores have closed.

So malls, including CityPlace, are trying to reinvent themselves.

CityPlace lately has settled on home furnishings as a trend it would like to exploit. This trend got a big boost with the addition of a standalone Restoration Hardware furniture gallery in the median of Okeechobee Boulevard, next to CityPlace. Restoration Hardware’s 58,000 square foot gallery is expected to open in the spring.

The Restoration Hardware deal will allow CityPlace to piggyback on the store’s draw by adding more home furnishings stores, said Ken Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of New York-based Related Cos., which built CityPlace.

The Shade Shop is among the first of several new home stores to come to CityPlace, along with soon-to-open Natuzzi furniture store, which has another store in Boca Raton.

We asked The Shade Shop’s co-founder Ian Gibbs why he picked CityPlace for the company’s flagship Palm Beach County store.

1.  Why CityPlace for the company’s West Palm Beach location?

CiyPlace is a really unique location. It’s one of the top shopping centers in South Florida and has a great mix of high-end design shops and retailers. It’s the perfect place for our brand.

2.  Specifically, was the company attracted to the coming presence of the Restoration Hardware gallery next to the center?

We have a lot of respect for Restoration Hardware and share a common customer, so it’s great that we will be near each other in the center.

3.  What about West Palm Beach made it appealing to the Shade Store?

Florida is one of our most successful markets and we have been selling in the West Palm Beach area through our online store for years. As we continue to expand our presence throughout the state, this market was a great next choice for us in giving our customers a physical location to shop for window treatments.

4.  What types of customers does the Shade store hope to attract? Palm Beachers? Residents living throughout the county? People living in new apartments and existing condos downtown?

We are a national brand with 42 showrooms nationwide. We are an ideal solution for anyone looking for custom window treatments and have a lot of experience working with new apartment and condo complexes as well as with new and existing homes.  We expect to serve customers from all over the area and our showrooms are an ideal place for both full and part-time residents to work with our trained design consultants to develop the perfect window treatment plan for their home.  And most importantly, not only do we provide unprecedented access to the world’s finest materials and artisan craftsmanship, but we also manage every detail of the project from inspiration to installation.

 

Music stops at Lafayette’s Music Room at CityPlace

5laffy

Lafayette’s Music Room at CityPlace in West Palm Beach has shut down, less than one year after opening.

The music venue and restaurant, which dubbed itself “Southern food with an attitude,” was on CityPlace’s second level, next to the Muvico Parisian 20 movie theater.

The company’s website said the restaurant “will be temporarily closed for renovation.”

No further information was available.

The space might reopen, but if and when it does, word is it won’t be Lafayette’s Music Room anymore.

A source said the restaurant and music space has new owners. The venue reportedly will open with a different concept, including a new menu, in a few weeks.

Tommy Peters, Lafayette’s president, was unavailable for comment at presstime.

A spokeswoman for CityPlace said the center had no comment right now.

Lafayette’s opened last fall in the space formerly occupied by B.B. King’s Blues Club.

When the space was B.B. King’s, the venue played blues and jazz. But B.B. King’s closed in 2014, after five years into a 10-year lease.

As Layfayette’s, the music was more varied, and featured rock as well as country music.

Last June, Peters said his goal was to make Lafayette’s “the finest intimate music room in Palm Beach County.”

A quick redo of the old B.B. King’s was intended. But design problems and other missteps delayed the opening for a year.

The original Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis operated in the 1970s but had been closed for many years until Peters brought it back to life. A sister location is open in Orlando, too.

Stay tuned for further updates.

 

 

See which store is closing at CityPlace

Banana Republic, the popular clothing retailer and Gap affiliate, is set to close its doors at CityPlace next week.

Parking in front of Banana Republic and Gap in CityPlace in West Palm Beach. The stores are across the street from Barnes & Noble Bookstore. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Parking in front of Banana Republic and Gap in CityPlace in West Palm Beach. The stores are across the street from Barnes & Noble Bookstore. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Monday will be the retailer’s final day at the outdoor shopping center and entertainment hub, according to a sign posted at the store.

Banana Republic also has stores at the Palm Beach Outlets, The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, The Mall at Wellington Green, and the Town Center at Boca Raton.