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.

 

Deal experts: 4th of July sales bring savings on summer staples

The 4th of July is a great time to stock up on summer staples, including warm-weather clothing, patio furniture and swim suits, according to the bargain hunting experts at DealNews.com.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Retailers typically start looking to clear out summer inventory to make room for back to school items around the 4th of July holiday, according to the deal website.

This year, shoppers can expect to find discounts on summer items during 4th of July sales, the website said.

Although patio items will be on sale for the holiday weekend, DealNews said its best to wait to purchase new grills until the end of the summer when prices are at their lowest.

To read more about what to expect from 4th of July sales, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day spending expected to decline

St. Patrick’s Day revelers are expected to spend slightly less than they did last year, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation.

More than 125 million Americans plan to celebrate the holiday, spending an average of $35.37 per person, down slightly from last year’s $36.52, the study found.  20140315_met_stpats_018
Total St. Patrick’s Day spending is expected to reach $4.4 billion, the federation said.

“Retailers expect to see a nice boost in sales as consumers head to stores looking for apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations special,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With the winter holidays behind us and spring flowers starting to bloom, St. Patrick’s Day provides a perfect opportunity for Americans to get together to celebrate with friends and family.”

The study, which surveyed 7,108 consumers, was conducted in February by Prosper Insight and Analytics.

According to the findings, 82.1 percent will wear green to show their Irish pride, 31.3 percent plan to make a special dinner, 28.7 percent will head to a party at a bar or restaurant and 21.1 percent will attend a private party. In addition, 22.8 percent plan to decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme.

 

Could Florida’s sales tax holidays be in jeopardy?

The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to extend a series of sales tax holidays, saying the tax breaks are not only popular with shoppers, but also spur spending and boost the economy.

Laura Palacio, 13, of West Palm Beach, tries on a backpack that she likes with her sister Mayra Palacio, at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., July 30, 2014, in West Palm Beach. Laura chose the back to school supplies that she needs for the upcoming year and plans to come back and buy them when the tax free holiday begins Friday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Laura Palacio, 13, of West Palm Beach, tries on a backpack that she likes with her sister Mayra Palacio, at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., July 30, 2014, in West Palm Beach. Laura chose the back to school supplies that she needs for the upcoming year and plans to come back and buy them when the tax free holiday begins Friday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The federation said a strike all amendment filed in the Senate would remove all sales tax holidays — including breaks for back-to-school shopping, hurricane preparedness, and energy-efficient appliances — from the House tax package (HB 7099). The Senate was slated to hear the strike all amendment on Tuesday but temporarily postponed the discussion, the federation said in a news release.

“For almost 20 years, Florida families have relied on these sales tax holidays as a way to provide for and protect their loved ones, and we’re concerned that removing them from the House tax package means consumers won’t be able to experience this important tax relief,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “If the Senate ultimately decides to keep these holidays out of the House bill, then we encourage them to pass the individual bills for these important sales tax holidays including Back-to-School, Disaster Preparedness and Energy Star.”

The Senate could also consider the Back-to-School (SB 198), Disaster Preparedness (SB 608) and Energy-Star (SB 870) sales tax holidays as standalone bills, the federation said. However, none of the legislation has been considered by the senate’s Committee on Appropriations, a move that must happen before it can be sent to the senate floor, the federation said.

The federation said consumers have come to rely on the sales tax holidays. Retail experts argue that shoppers prefer salestax holidays over sales and discounts offered by individual retailers.

The tax break also boosts wages for retail employees, the federation said.

“In general, retailers say they get an average increase of between 30 and 40 percent in store traffic over the weekend because of the sales tax holiday,” the federation said.

Culture-related spending in PBC topped $538 million last year

Palm Beach County’s 19 largest cultural institutions attracted audience members that spent a total of $538.3 million here last year, according to study results released last week by county tourism officials.

A traditional Dragon Dance was performed by Lee Koon Hung Kung Fu Chinese Martial Arts Association at the Norton Museum of Art as part of its Chinese New Year Celebration Saturday, February 13, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / Daily News)
A traditional Dragon Dance was performed by Lee Koon Hung Kung Fu Chinese Martial Arts Association at the Norton Museum of Art as part of its Chinese New Year Celebration Saturday, February 13, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / Daily News)

According to the study, which was released Thursday by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, culture-related spending at those 19 institutions supported an estimated total of 11,795 full-time jobs in Palm Beach County, generating $226 million in resident household income, $22.1 million in local government revenues, and $25.9 million in state government revenues.

The study found that cultural tourists who traveled to the county accounted for more than 64 percent of the spending. Cultural tourists stayed accounted for an estimated 730,000 nightly hotel room stays in Palm Beach County last year.

Cultural tourists spent nearly twice as much per person as resident attendees on purchases such as admissions, meals, retail shopping and souvenirs, local transportation, and lodging, the study found.

“This study demonstrates the importance of Palm Beach County’s cultural institutions to our local and state economy, and the contribution that arts and culture adds to jobs and income in our communities. With more than 200 cultural organizations, Palm Beach County is Florida’s Cultural Capital, attracting cultural tourists from around the state and around the world and playing a more vital role than ever in the lives of residents,” Rena Blades, president & CEO of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, said. “Keeping our cultural institutions viable, active and attractive to tourists plays a critical role in Palm Beach County’s economic welfare.”

The study focused on 19 cultural organizations including: Armory Arts Center, Boca Raton Historical Society, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Delray Beach Center for the Arts, FAU Foundation, Inc., Flagler Museum, Kravis Center, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Miami City Ballet, The Morikami, Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Palm Beach State College, South Florida Science Center, SunFest of Palm Beach County, and The Zoological Society of the Palm Beaches.