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

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.

Louie Bossi coming to Delray, taking over 32 East spot

A Louie Bossi restaurant, coming soon to Delray Beach

Downtown Delray Beach is gaining a new Italian restaurant, Louie Bossi, but losing a venerable establishment: Word is that 32 East will close to make way for the Italian eatery.

 

32 East will stay open until building permits are submitted and approved for a major renovation of the space, a process that could take six months.

If all goes to plan, the Louie Bossi restaurant will open roughly this time next year.

32 East general manager John Bates on Tuesday said he’s aware of “rumors” but said the deal hasn’t yet happened: “I believe what they’ve been doing is talking the details. Nothing’s been inked,” Bates said.

However, sources said the Italian concept from West Palm Beach’s Big Time Restaurant Group is a done deal and set to go into the 32 East space at 32 E. Atlantic Ave.

32 East owner Butch Johnson did not return a phone call seeking comment. Big Time’s Todd Herbst declined to comment.

But longtimers know what a mark 32 East has made on the downtown Delray Beach dining market when it opened in 1996, and what a loss it will be for the local dining scene.

32 East restaurant in Delray Beach

 

32 East was among the first upscale restaurants to open on Atlantic Avenue back when the city’s downtown was just getting going in the 1990s.

What a difference 20 years makes. Now downtown Delray Beach is crowded with a range of eateries, and more restaurants clamor for prime space every day.

But the stylish New American-themed 32 East has continued to maintain its place in the downtown dining scene, offered innovative items for years in a casual yet elegant setting.

In a 2000 restaurant review, former Palm Beach Post food critic Paul Reid had this to say about 32 East: “32 East is simply one of the best places within 50 miles, so why don’t we just leave it at that, and I’ll take the rest of the week off, and our readers can call 32 East, make reservations, go and enjoy.”

Louie Bossi originally was slated to go into 44 E. Atlantic Ave., the former Masonic Temple building at Atlantic Avenue and SE First Avenue in downtown Delray. But the deal to retrofit the historic 1924 building, and find adequate parking, became complicated.

So Big Time looked elsewhere.

In an interview last year, Herbst said Big Time has been thrilled, and a little surprised, by the success of Louie Bossi on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant opened in 2015, and it has exceeded expectations, he said.

Earlier this year, Louie Bossi opened in Boca Raton, attached to the new Hyatt Place hotel. The Hyatt is in the heart of downtown on the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road.

Last year, Herbst said Big Time was eager to open in Delray Beach even though Boca Raton’s Louie Bossi is in the next city south.

“We love the Delray market,” Herbst said.

Big Time knows it well. The company has operated City Oyster on Atlantic Avenue for 17 years, and it opened Rocco’s Tacos, its Mexican food concept, in 2015.

Louie Bossi is popular because the food is fresh and the wood-and-brick interior is inviting, Herbst said last year. Everything is made in-house, too, including the breads, numerous types of pasta and desserts.

Delray Beach already overflows with Italian restaurants, including Tramonti, Sazio, Vic & Angelo’s and Caffe Luna Rosa, to name a few.

Many are good, Herbst said.

“But we’re going to build a great Italian restaurant,” Herbst said last year. “It’s a natural for downtown Delray Beach.”

Could a Carl’s Prime steak house be coming to PBC soon?

Robert Dickert of Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood

Robert Dickert isn’t ready to give up on opening a steak house in Palm Beach County.

The owner of Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood in Scranton, Pa., has been shut out of a deal to open two restaurants at a planned new clubhouse in North Palm Beach.

And due to an unsuccessful trademark infringement fight with the famous Peter Luger Steak House in New York, he’s going to have to change the name of his restaurant, too, to Carl’s Prime.

 

Dickert said on Monday he decided to surrender his trademark and change the restaurant name to avoid a costly legal fight. He says he’s kin to Peter Luger, but will give up using the name in his business.

The brouhaha over the Carl Von Luger deal for North Palm Beach, and subsequent national attention over his fight with Peter Luger, hasn’t been all bad, however.

The restaurant’s profile has been raised to the point where it now is in demand by Palm Beach County landlords seeking a Carl’s Prime steak house, Dickert said.

“I’ve been talking to people,” he said. “Now everybody knows who I am….Bad news is good news for me.”

Thus far, Dickert said he’s talking to a property owner in North Palm Beach as well as a hotel in Boca Raton about opening a Carl’s Prime.

Neither deal is baked, per se, but Dickert is optimistic he’ll have a reason to come down to Palm Beach County soon, and not just to avoid the upcoming winters up north.

For the record, here’s what Dickert posted on the Carl Von Luger website, which must remove all reference to Luger by Oct. 28:

“In recent months an issue has arisen regarding our name and branding due to similarities to the New York based Peter Luger restaurants,” the statement said.

“As you know, our owner Robert Dickert is a third generation restaurateur with over forty years of passion in the restaurant industry. While we are flattered by any such comparison, we’d like to clarify that our restaurant and its owner are in no way affiliated with the Peter Luger restaurants. To eliminate any possibility of confusion, we are changing our name to Carl’s Prime.”

 

When E.F. Hutton called, restaurateur listened

Hutton Seafood & Raw Bar opening later this month in Northwood

There’s a new restaurant opening soon in West Palm Beach’s Northwood section.  The restaurant is called Hutton. The restaurant owner’s name is Tim.

But Timothy Hutton, the actor, is nowhere near this eatery.

Instead, owner Tim Klinefelter drew inspiration elsewhere.

Before delving into that story, however, it’s important to understand what Klinefelter was not going to name it: Klinefelter.

“I would never name a restaurant that,” he said, laughing.

Restaurant names should convey something about the place, be simple to remember and yet somehow, memorable.

Spouses or family members are easy names to turn to for a restaurant moniker. But many restaurateurs privately admit they default to naming their restaurants after their pets (Henry’s restaurant, named after a King Charles spaniel in suburban Delray Beach), or just inventing a word (Bolay, with locations in Wellington, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens.)

Klinefelter wanted to go in a different direction.

He thought of his time spent on Palm Beach during the past two years. It’s a place he visited and then grew to love after giving notice to his employer/partner in Charleston, S.C. After 10 years, Klinefelter left his job at Pearlz Oyster Bar, where he was general manager and operating partner.

Klinfelter said he needed a break. He described Pearlz as “insanely busy,” where every seat is filled within 15 minutes of opening.

In Florida, Klinefelter said he was inspired by the elegance of Palm Beach. And he wanted to acknowledge its rising profile, thanks to President Donald Trump. Trump owns Mar-a-Lago, the ocean-to-lake estate built by Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, financier E.F. Hutton, who co-founded a brokerage bearing his name.

So…Hutton.

“The name is synonymous and historic with Palm Beach,” Klinefelter said. Plus, he added, “It’s crisp.”

Look for fresh seafood items with an occasional hint of Klinefelter’s longtime career spent around Low Country cuisine: Sautéed shrimp with creole gravy and hoe cakes, or crayfish beignets, for example.

Shrimp and hoe cakes

Klinefelter said he’s taken care to design the space to be both elegant and inviting. He’s angling to attract not only Northwood neighbors but also Palm Beachers who might be inclined to drive over the new Flagler MemorialBridge, avoid downtown’s traffic and instead zip up Flagler Drive to dine.

Hutton Seafood & Raw Bar, at 407 Northwood Road, is slated to open Aug. 22.

Hutton artwork by Robert Shelton

Is it too early for Halloween stuff to be on store shelves?

Cracker Barrel stores didn’t wait long after Fourth of July to bring out their Halloween items. But is it too early?

After all, back-to-school shopping hasn’t even swung into high gear.

You’re probably thinking it’s all about money, right?

But actually, back-to-school shopping is 10 times more lucrative — literally — than Halloween sales. In fact, back-to-school ranks only behind holiday shopping in importance for retailers. The Back to School vs. Halloween comparative numbers are:

  • Back to school spending is expected to reach $83.6 billion this year, up 10 percent from $75.8 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • Halloween generated sales in the neighborhood of $8.3 billion.
  • But, ask any kid, and they’ll tell you Halloween is a lot more fun than the first day of school

West Palm Beach costume shop caters to serious Halloween fans

Black Friday 2016: Holiday shopping season starts early

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

Botox at the beach? You can have it at the Four Seasons

Palm Beach Post file photo

 

The Four Seasons Palm Beach has it all when it comes to relaxing: Ocean views, soothing interiors and a spa providing massages and facials.

But in a new level of service, now offers a plastic surgeon’s services to guests who want to keep that refreshed look going, long after they check out of the hotel.

Dr. Harold Bafitis, a board-certified plastic surgeon, provides services such as Botox, fillers and Coopsculpt in a dedicated spa room. Bafitis is available both to hotel guests as well as local residents, based on appointment availability. The Four Seasons is at 2800 S. Ocean Blvd.

The Four Seasons in Maui offers plastic surgery services, but this arrangement marks the first time the Four Seasons has offered this service in the continental United States.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Harold Bafitis now gives treatments at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)

“We’re the only ones offering the combination of the resort experience and the spa experience,” said Colin Clark, formerly general manager of the Four Seasons. (Since the interview, Peter has taken a job as general manager of the Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai, Hawaii.)

Bafitis’ services have been offered quietly for the past several months, and they’re gaining steam with hotel guests who love the extra services.

“We make them look good and provide  services to this five-star hotel and spa that’s never been done before. It’s worked out well,” Bafitis said.

Bafitis said these types of services have been done on cruise ships in the past, but he thought providing them at a five-star resort would be a good fit. And with the Four Seasons right in his backyard, it seemed like a smart way to broaden his patient base.

From the hotel’s standpoint, the alliance could be a springboard to offering plastic surgery services at other properties, Clark said:  “We might be taking it to other Four Seasons as well.”

Spa director Al Kawasmeh said Florida was a natural for Four Seasons to try the services out with guests. People in Florida are into wellness and fitness, Kawasmeh noted.

Kawasmeh is in the perfect position to suggestion expansion of the plastic surgery services to other Four Seasons resorts: This month, he was named senior spa director for the Four Seasons’ North America hotels and resorts.

Prices range from $14 to $16 per Botox injection, $400 to $750 per cc for fillers and about $600-$800 for Coolsculpt, a non-surgical fat removal procedure. There’s no bruising, no special garments to wear: “You go right to the pool,” Bafitis said. Guests often book services prior to arrival.

Even though it’s off season now, the hotel never really slows down. Occupancy is strong year-round, so gone are the days when summers are quiet, hotel officials said.

Bafitis said he’s benefited from the Four Seasons alliance, too.  He was required to attend hotel training, where he learned the Four Seasons philosophy toward guests. They include smiling all the time, making eye contact and providing an extra level of service that’s not expected but is appreciated.

Bafitis said he now employs these techniques in his plastic surgery practice, which has offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Wellington.

 

Carl von Luger owner in town for talks with North Palm Beach leaders

Robert Dickert, owner of Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood

The owner of the Carl Von Luger restaurant from Pennsylvania has been in North Palm Beach for the past few days, and not for vacation reasons.

Robert Dickert and his team have been in damage-control mode, talking to village officials about a nasty lawsuit that threatens to derail the deal to bring Dickert’s steak and seafood restaurant to the village’s planned $15 million new club house at 951 US 1.

The goal is to assuage village officials caught off-guard by the lawsuit filed against their club house restaurant operator, who has a contract with the village to operate two restaurants when the new club house is completed.

In May, Dickert and his Carl Von Luger restaurant were sued by Peter Luger Inc. of New York in federal court. The trademark infringement lawsuit alleges Carl Von Luger is ripping off the famed Luger steak house brand by appropriating the name.

The Luger name does have allure, but Dickert said in a recent interview he’s entitled to it.

It is a name that he says is part of his family tree: Peter Luger was his great-uncle. Dickert worked for a decade in the family restaurant, learning the trade in all manner of roles.

And in 2009, Dickert filed a trademark for the Carl Von Luger restaurant. Peter Luger Inc. didn’t object to the name and the restaurant, which has been in business in Scranton since 2011.

Word is that’s what the Dickert team is telling village officials, who reportedly still want Dickert operating two restaurants at the club house, as per the contract with him.

Village manager Andrew Lukasik could not be reached for comment. Dickert declined to comment.

The club house is set to be ready by December 2018.

Stay tuned for more details.

 

Why Park Ave BBQ is going into The Gardens Mall

Park Avenue BBQ Grille

It’s been a long time coming, folks. But Park Avenue BBQ Grille owner Dean LaVallee is a patient man. He’s a happy one, too, because Park Avenue finally is going to be part of the The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens.

Park Avenue will take over the Counter Burger space in the mall. Expect a full bar and outside seating, with an opened slated for August.

LaVallee said he’s craved a high-profile location for years but was never prominent enough to win the attention of bigtime shopping centers.

But shopping centers are undergoing big changes now.

With sales pinched by online retailers and fickle shoppers, mall leasing managers are looking for creative and popular tenants that will create a sense of community — and draw people back to the malls.

Park Avenue BBQ fits the bill, said mall leasing manager Al Ferris.

“It’s the right place at the right time,” LaVallee said.

When you talk about Park Avenue, you can’t get more local or community-minded.

The eatery was started by LaVallee in 1988 in Lake Park, and it has  maintained a loyal following as it has grown to seven locations in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. The Gardens Mall will be its eighth store.

“Every city in the world has five Outbacks and they’re all the same,” LaVallee said. “Now the marketplace is swinging back to what’s truly local.”

Park Avenue has a very loyal fan base: It ranked #1 on a reader poll of Most Popular BBQ joints around.

Customers say the meat is tender, the sauces flavorful and the sides to die for, especially the cornbread.

But Park Avenue also is innovative and willing to live up to the Park Avenue in its name.

The farm-to-table method of dining, so popular at upscale eateries, is about to become a staple at Park Avenue, which actually has its own farm.

Look for pineapple, mango, avocado and various citrus fruits as part of menu items.

What can you make with pineapple? “Pineapple mango chutney, pineapple shortbread, pineapple a million ways,” LaVallee said.

LaValle offers this reminder: Some 100 years ago, the county’s plentiful sun and sandy land made the area a popular place to grow pineapples.

In addition to homegrown foods, Park Avenue is hopping onto another trend: The craft cocktail craze.

For instance, The Good Dean features white tequila and watermelon juice.

LaValle also is toying with the idea of offering some bespoke items, such as a delicate pork panini with “interesting greens.”

There may even be a vegetarian item on the menu to appeal to a greater variety of diners.

As for the future, LaVallee said he’s looking for new locations. He closed an east Boca Raton location but he’s on the hunt for a location in west Boca Raton.

And he’d like to open a store in Royal Palm Beach, too, he said.