Sale of Mizner Park in Boca Raton falters

Mizner Park
Mizner Park

For a time this year, downtown Boca Raton almost saw the biggest retail shakeup in recent history: The near sale of the Mizner Park shopping, living and office center.

The landmark property, built 27 years ago, was offered for sale by its current owner, General Growth Properties Inc., according to several real estate brokers.

Prospects coveted the property, and some even crafted plans to spend millions of dollars on upgrades to the aging center on Federal Highway, just north of Palmetto Park Road.

But the deal was pulled last month after pricing fell short of expectations. Brokers say would-be buyers lowered their purchase price because the center’s apartments weren’t part of the sale. Only the retail space, offices and office tower were included.

As a result, the bid price fell short, and the project was pulled from the market, sources said.

The project might still be sold if an unknown magic number is offered. But right now, nothing is in play. Mizner Park manager Andrew McKinney declined to comment.

But Mayor Susan Haynie said she was aware the property had been offered for sale.

Whether it is sold now or in the future, Haynie said the city will need to work closely with the owner because some of the project’s ground leases will be coming due during the next five years.

The city likely “will sell those to whoever owns the structures,” she said.

Mizner Park is an Italianite low-rise collection of buildings surrouding a central green space featuring fountains and benches. It evokes the feel of a downtown with streets that run through its interior, a design familiar to those who frequent CityPlace in West Palm Beach.

But unlike the massive CityPlace, Mizner Park is more intimate. A collection of boutiques, restaurants and once, the popular bookstore Liberties, made it an instant hit among the well-off and wannabes of Boca Raton and surrounding areas.

Through the years, Mizner Park’s tenant roster changed as new stores and eateries moved out and others moved in. More recently, General Growth has revived the center by bringing in the popular Ipic Theaters luxury movie theater to replace a former indie movie house.

Mizner Park also features an amphitheater that hosts musical performances, holiday events and a range of cultural offerings throughout the year.

Now that a trade is on hold, Haynie said the city is  working to improve Mizner Park’s parking issues. The street parking is paid, but the garages are free; however, the garages fill up with employee and valet parking.

This is especially the case since the Lord & Taylor department store opened at Mizner Park in 2013, she said.

So Haynie said the city and General Growth are looking for ways to move some parking offsite, such as to city-owned properties or nearby properties not in use at certain times.


Blue Moon Fish Co.: The deal that got away from Delray Beach

Broward County-based Blue Moon Fish Co. thought it had hooked a deal to take over the shuttered Hudson at Waterway East restaurant in Delray Beach. Hudson closed its doors April 10.

The waterfront patio of Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The waterfront patio of Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

» RELATED: Hudsons offered good food with great view

For Blue Moon, Hudson was ideal because it had the same setup: A waterfront restaurant on the Intracoastal, next to a bridge.

But at the last minute, Blue Moon owner Bryce Statham says the deal went south. And although he regrets that he and Hudson’s owners couldn’t come to terms, Statham sounded wistful about what could have been.

A raw bar. A broad range of fresh seafood.

And Blue Moon’s signature Lousiana-influenced cuisine that has made the eatery a destination restaurant in Lauderdale-by-the Sea for 20 years.

“I would have loved to have been there,” Statham said.

Blue Moon is at the northeast corner of the Intracoastal and Commercial Boulevard.

Waterfront restaurants are a rare commodity in Palm Beach County. Last month, River House in Palm Beach Gardens was sold to BrickTops,  a concept by the co-founder of Houston’s restaurant.

But even a great waterfront location doesn’t guarantee success.

And no matter how great business is  during the winter tourist season, “August comes no matter what,” Statham said.

Hudson, which opened in December 2014, was in business for less than two years.

A partnership that includes former professional hockey player Behn Wilson bought the Hudson property at 900 E. Atlantic Ave. for $2.6 million in July 2013, according to county property records.

The site previously was Old Calypso restaurant.

Together with owner/restaurateur Sam Bonasso, formerly of Outback restaurantsWilson and partners turned Hudson into a mix of concepts.

Hudson dubbed itself as a “speakeasy,” a gastropub-type lounge with high-top seating, a restaurant and outside bar. The limited menu featured a hodgepodge of seafood, meats and “comfort food,” such as mac ‘n cheese.

Statham saw the space and realized it would be the perfect spot to duplicate the success of his Broward location. He even was lining up a refrigerated food truck to service Delray.

But he was wary about the lease pricing, which he thought was too much for projected sales. Attempts to trim the price at the last minute resulted in the deal falling apart.

Statham, a self-described small operator, acknowledged he got nervous about committing to a higher number, especially because the deal happened very fast.

He also expressed a bit of regret with his hesitation: “Maybe it was a mistake….Who knows what will happen. It was a mixed opportunity on both ends.”

Now the property once again is being marketed for lease, or for sale.

The large restaurant property features 7,600 square feet of interior space, plus 1,200 of patio space. Dock parking for boats is available, too, said broker Tom Prakas of the Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton.

Prakas, who is marketing the site, said Monday he’s already received several promising inquiries, and he expects a deal could be done within the next couple of weeks. “We have multiple groups looking at it,” he said.

The property is listed for sale at $7.6 million. It also can be leased for $699,000, plus annual rent of $450,000 per year.




Boca Raton hotel unveils new design

The Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel will unveil a newly-completed, multi-million dollar renovation project today.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held this afternoon to unveil the hotel’s redesign and new restaurant concept. IMG_5315

“At Renaissance Boca Raton, our goal is to maintain the fresh, chic hotel concept through the re-design while incorporating a modern, convenient experience for our dynamic traveler,” said Mehmet Bahtiyar, general manager of Renaissance Boca Raton. “The seamless design allows our guests to feel current and connected.”

The hotel’s 189 guest rooms have been renovated to feature “a streamlined layout with contemporary-style furnishings and granite bathrooms with Aveda bath amenities, fostering comfort for both business and leisure guests,” according to a press release announcing the project’s completion.

The decor and furniture have been upgraded in the hotel’s meeting and conferences spaces, while restaurant Umbria Ristorante features an updated menu.

Tourism leaders praised the hotel’s new look.

“We’re thrilled about the significant investment in the renovations of the Renaissance Boca Raton,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “This property, billed as ‘fearlessly chic,’ is giving visitors a fresh, new and contemporary product as well as high-qualify service. It’s another step in our collective mission to live the brand that The Palm Beaches are the best way to experience Florida, because genuine hospitality is a way of life for us.”

When addressing the dozens of attendees at the ribbon cutting, Pesquera cited a hotel boom. “We are going through the biggest jump in hotels and hotel rooms since Henry Flagler built his two grand hotels in Palm Beach,” he said. “It’s important that our product feel refreshed and aligned with the tastes and likes of the new generation of travelers, and that’s what we believe this ‘fearlessly chic’ concept will accomplish.”

The renovation was designed to appeal to the “modern-day traveler,” the announcement said.

The hotel is located at 2000 NW 19th Street. It is managed by TPG Hospitality.

West Palm Beach’s Shoppe 561 bringing its wares to Boca

West Palm Beach-based Shoppe 561 will open a one day only pop-up shop on Saturday at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.

staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN
staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN

The shop will be open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Athleta in the mall.

During the event, Shoppe 561 will be donating 10 percent of its sales for the day directly to Place of Hope at the Leighan and David Rinker Campus, an organization dedicated to providing a stable and loving family environment for children, teens and young adults who have aged out of foster care.

Shoppe 561 offers a variety of products made by more than 70 artisans and artists from Florida. The shop also offers craft classes for adults and children.


National child care company set to open new facility in Boca Raton

The Learning Experience, a Boca Raton-based child care facility chain with franchises across the country, is opening a new location in Boca Raton.MT-1A_SCHOOL SUPPLIES.JPG

The Boca facility, located at 331 E. Yamato Road, will serve children from six-weeks-old to age 5.

Several local officials, including Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, are expected to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony today for the new campus.


Delray Beach hotel completes $1.2 million renovation

Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas in Delray Beach announced today that it has completed a $1.2 million renovation project.

Crane's Beach House Exterior (photo provided)
Crane’s Beach House Exterior (photo provided)

The project included upgrades to every villa, suite and room, the hotel said.

“This total $1.2 million renovation started with the four luxury villas in the summer of 2014 and has since expanded hotel-wide, touching every room and the entire grounds,” said Cathy Balestriere, the hotel’s general manager. “The impressive, guest-pleasing new look just strengthens our brand as the coolest place to stay in Delray Beach.”

In addition, the ground floor rooms now have access to semi-private back patios, while second floor living areas have balconies overlooking one of the two swimming pools or Tiki Bars the hotel.

“In both the living room and bed room are over-sized flat screen TVs,” Balestriere said. “The new Crane’s Beach House also sports custom plantation shutters, a brand new kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, comfortable new mattresses on every bed, and extraordinary artwork, often created by local artists.”

Baywatch crew releases new details about production

Paramount Pictures on Thursday released new details about the “Baywatch” movie that crews filmed scenes for last week at beachfront park in Boca Raton.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In a news release, the company announced it has begun “principal photography” on the film, which is based on the popular 1990s television show.

“Production will take place in Miami and Savannah,” the release said. “The film will be released on May 19, 2017.”

The film’s crew closed the parking lot at South Inlet Park in Boca Raton on Monday to shoot scenes for the movie, which Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

South Inlet Park is expected to be closed to vehicular traffic again on Monday as a result of the production.

The movie “follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Efron),” the release said. “Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.”

The film’s crew is staying at The Boca Raton Resort & Club. The production was expected to result in 1,600 nightly hotel room bookings, the permit shows.

The film’s cast has taken to Instagram to share images of their time in Palm Beach County.

Baywatch movie being filmed in Palm Beach County

Movie crews are in southern Palm Beach County today filming scenes for Baywatch, a  motion picture based on the popular 1990s television show.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 20: Actor Zac Efron arrives at the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "We Are Your Friends" at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 20, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – AUGUST 20: Actor Zac Efron arrives at the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “We Are Your Friends” at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 20, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The movie, which is scheduled to be released next year, stars Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,  and is directed by Seth Gordon, according to the website

County parks officials on Friday said they planned to closed South Inlet Park in Boca Raton while film crews shoot scenes for an upcoming production, but declined to name the movie.

Internal county emails show Viacom, Inc. and Paramount Worldwide Productions, Inc. are at the park today filming for Baywatch.

A copy of the permit issued by the county’s Film and Television Commission was emailed to county commissioners over the weekend.

According to the email, the park will be closed until midnight today. The production is expected to close the park again on Feb. 29.

Click here to read more.


Film production to close South Inlet Park

Palm Beach County’s South Inlet Park in Boca Raton will be closed on Monday while film crews shoot scenes for an upcoming production, parks and recreation officials said.

032404 sc met csi1 - DELRAY BEACH - Delray Beach actress Natalie Kahn (cq) reacts to what will be a plane crash on the beach as she performs in a "CSI: Miami" (cq) television episode being filmed on Delray Beach Wednesday, March 24, 2004 in front of a host of local extras and Los Angeles film crew members. The segment, entitled "Not Landing," (cq) is scheduled to be aired on CBS in late April or early May. Staff photo by Chris Matula NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH,  BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA.  NO SALES. TV OUT. TABLOIDS OUT. MAGAZINES OUT. WIDE WORLD OUT. INTERNET USE OUT. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX ORG XMIT:   ORG XMIT: MER0708311142252324
 Delray Beach actress Natalie Kahn reacts to what will be a plane crash on the beach as she performs in a “CSI: Miami” television episode being filmed on Delray Beach Wednesday, March 24, 2004 in front of a host of local extras and Los Angeles film crew members.  Staff photo by Chris Matula

The beachfront park, located at 1100 South Ocean Boulevard, is expected to be closed all day.

A county permit authorizing the filming showed the production could also close the park on Feb. 29, county parks officials said.

While the park’s closure will block the public from parking at the county-owned facility, parks officials said beachgoers who access the ocean front from other nearby sites would still be able to walk along the coast.