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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subculture Coffee finds new home in Delray Beach

Subculture Coffee

 

Subculture Coffee Roasters soon will be serving java once again to loyal downtown Delray Beach customers.

The popular coffee shop has leased space at 20 W. Atlantic Avenue, the southwest corner of Swinton and Atlantic avenues. The location formerly was home to Nature’s Way Café.

New home of Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach

The move comes after the West Palm Beach-based coffee company closed its downtown Delray Beach space at 123 E. Atlantic Ave., following the loss of a trial for eviction in March.

Subculture’s move to the south side of Atlantic Avenue is part of a long-term deal between the coffee company and Hudson Holdings, owner of property on the south side of Atlantic Avenue along Swinton Avenue.

The coffee shop will be in a temporary funky, green building along Atlantic Avenue until Hudson Holdings wins the city’s OK to do a restoration of six historic houses on Swinton Avenue.

If all goes to plan, Subculture then will move into one of those houses and take the entire space, as Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayo now has with his iconic Dada restaurant on North Swinton Avenue.

Mayo said Hudson Holdings’ Steven Michael called Mayo and pitched him the idea when he heard Subculture needed new space.

“It’s been my dream to have a coffee shop in an old historic house. This clinched the deal,” Mayo said.

The coffee company posted news of its temporary new Delray Beach location on its Facebook page Tuesday: “Say hello to our new home at the corner of Swinton & Atlantic. Construction is underway!”

Indeed, workers on Wednesday were sanding concrete floors and quickly readying the space for Subculture, which expects to be open by the end of May.

Mayo said the new location will be more akin to the main, West Palm Beach store, at 509 Clematis St. Subculture’s new spot will serve a range of food, including breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. There also will be a separate annex for juices.

But coffee will not be roasted at 20 W. Atlantic Ave., as it was in the old Delray spot and as it is now in West Palm Beach.

On the plus side, the new location will have substantially more seating. That’s because at 2,200 square feet, it will be three times as large.

“Everyone is ecstatic because it will have more parking and more seats,” said Mayo, who noted that some patrons found it frustrating to have to “pay $10 to park for a $5 cup of coffee.”

Mayo also plans to host events there, including poetry readings and live music.

The location is temporary because Hudson Holdings plans to tear down 20 W. Atlantic Ave. and rebuilt into a 22,000-square foot, four-story building. The building will featuring retail on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, and then residential space on the third and fourth floors.

A breezeway to an interior courtyard and walkway leading to the six restored historic homes, including Subculture’s house, is part of the design.

Mayo said the house will have five parking spots just for to-go orders, plenty of nearby parking and also, outdoor seating.

All of this hinges on Hudson Holdings’ plan to restore and reuse the historic homes, plus plans to build a new hotel and condo-hotel units across from the Sundy House on South Swinton Avenue.

For more on this story, check back with mypalmbeachpost.com.

Subculture Coffee finds new home in Delray Beach

Subculture Coffee

 

Subculture Coffee Roasters soon will be serving java once again to loyal downtown Delray Beach customers.

The popular coffee shop has leased space at 20 W. Atlantic Avenue, the southwest corner of Swinton and Atlantic avenues. The location formerly was home to Nature’s Way Café.

New home of Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach

The move comes after West Palm Beach-based coffee company closed its downtown Delray Beach space at 123 E. Atlantic Ave., after it lost an eviction lawsuit in March.

Subculture’s move to the south side of Atlantic Avenue is part of a long-term deal between the coffee company and Hudson Holdings, owner of property on the south side of Atlantic Avenue along Swinton Avenue.

The coffee shop will be in a temporary funky, green building along Atlantic Avenue until Hudson Holdings wins the city’s OK to do a restoration of six historic houses there.

If all goes to plan, Subculture then will move into one of those houses and take the entire space, as Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayo now has with his iconic Dada restaurant on North Swinton Avenue.

Mayo said Hudson Holdings’ Steven Michael called Mayo and pitched him the idea when he heard Subculture needed new space.

“It’s been my dream to have a coffee shop in an old historic house. This clinched the deal,” Mayo said.

The coffee company posted news of its temporary new Delray Beach location on its Facebook page Tuesday: “Say hello to our new home at the corner of Swinton & Atlantic. Construction is underway!”

Indeed, workers on Wednesday were sanding concrete floors and quickly readying the space for Subculture, which expects to be open by the end of May.

Mayo said the new location will be more akin to the main, West Palm Beach store, at 509 Clematis St. Subculture’s new spot will serve a range of food, including breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. There also will be a separate annex for juices.

But coffee will not be roasted at 20 W. Atlantic Ave., as it was in the old Delray spot and as it is now in West Palm Beach.

On the plus side, the new location will have substantially more seating. That’s because at 2,200 square feet, it will be three times as large.

“Everyone is ecstatic because it will have more parking and more seats,” said Mayo, who noted that some patrons found it frustrating to have to “pay $10 to park for a $5 cup of coffee.”

Mayo also plans to host events there, including poetry readings and live music.

The location is temporary because Hudson Holdings plans to tear down 20 W. Atlantic Ave. and rebuilt into a 22,000-square foot, four-story building. The building will featuring retail on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, and then residential space on the third and fourth floors.

A breezeway to an interior courtyard and walkway leading to the six restored historic homes, including Subculture’s house, is part of the design.

Mayo said the house will have five parking spots just for to-go orders, plenty of nearby parking and also, outdoor seating.

All of this hinges on Hudson Holdings’ plan to restore and reuse the historic homes, plus plans to build a new hotel and condo-hotel units across from the Sundy House on South Swinton Avenue.

For more on this story, check back with mypalmbeachpost.com.

Here’s the reason why Subculture Coffee closed in Delray Beach

Subculture Coffee

Note: This post has been updated.

Subculture Coffee blamed “greedy landlords” on its Facebook page for the coffee shop’s closure Monday in downtown Delray Beach.

But it was a trial verdict and judgment that turned off the coffee drips at the popular java hangout, at 123 E. Atlantic Avenue Monday night.

On March 6, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Edward Garrison issued a final judgment against 123 East LLC, the entity that leased the space from property owner William R. Burke. Owners of Subculture, based in West Palm Beach, owned shares of 123 East LLC.

In a trial held earlier this month, Garrison ruled the coffee shop had violated its lease with Burke. The trial ended a two-year legal battle between Burke and 123 East LLC/Subculture.

The main source of contention: The sublease of the upstairs floor to real estate brokerage The Knight Group, without Mayo first obtaining written permission from Burke to do so. Subculture occupied the downstairs space.

According to court records, the lease limited the use of the entire premises to a restaurant. It also forbade the sublease of space without Burke’s prior written consent.

But Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayo leased the upstairs 1,000-square-foot space to Knight anyway, according to court records. The Knight Group also was named in the eviction action, first filed in October 2015.

The trial and judgment were not mentioned on Subculture’s Facebook page, which announced the store would be closing its doors Monday evening.

Instead, the Facebook post referenced “greedy landlords looking for any excuse to kick out existing tenants despite them paying rent on time.”

“It’s not about greed. It’s about trying to get your tenants to comply with the terms of the lease,” said Burke’s Boca Raton lawyer, Howard DuBosar. “They didn’t want to comply, and they paid the price.”

DuBosar added: “A judge would not enter an order of eviction unless the judge found there were material breaches of the lease, and in this case, that’s exactly what occurred.”

Garrison’s March 6 order gave Burke the right to take possession of his prime downtown Delray Beach space. It also ordered 123 East LLC to pay an accelerated rent of $366,708, plus attorneys fees and costs.

In an email, Mayo said the landlord won on a “technicality” based on an oral representation “versus a written.”

An oral agreement typically isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Nonetheless, Mayo, a sophisticated commercial real estate owner, investor and restaurant/nightclub operator, said he relied on a broker saying a sublease was OK.

And despite the lease language allowing for an upstairs restaurant, that was “virtually impossible” due to city rules, Mayo added. An upstairs restaurant would have required installation of an elevator and two stairways, which would have used up pretty much all of the first floor, Mayo said.

Mayo concluded Burke wanted the property back “most likely due to the increase in values and his ability to rent the property at a higher rent.”
Caught in the middle of all of this is the Knight Group’s Jim Knight, a prominent commercial real estate broker in Delray Beach.
Knight said he responded to a sign in the Subculture window about the available upstairs space. And he said he did what he could to make sure the deal was OK, including obtaining a letter from the city that the space could be used as a commercial real estate office.
Furthermore, Knight said he also relied on a broker’s oral OK about the deal.
“The Knight Group was assured by the listing broker that all parties, including the property owner, approved the sublease,” Knight said. “Knight Group was not aware there was an issue with the sub-lease until being notified after taking occupancy.”
The listing broker, Christian Prakas, declined to comment, as did his father, Tom Prakas. Both men are with Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton.
Knight Group now had taken moved back to its former offices, at 10 S.E. 1st Avenue, second floor, Knight said.
And despite Subculture’s closing, Mayo tried to remain upbeat about the store’s Monday closing.

“We went out with a bang and everything was free all day,” Mayo wrote. “The support from the community was overwhelming and very much appreciated.”

Mayo said he’s actively on the hunt for a new location, and already he’s found a couple of possibilities in the immediate area. But an appeal of Garrison’s decision is unlikely, due to the legal expenses involved, he added.

In any event, hope–  and coffee — spring eternal as spring nears.

Mayo said Subculture will be doing a “pop up” store Friday at Mizner Park in Boca Raton for St. Patrick’s Day.

Meanwhile, Subculture’s original location at 509 Clematis St. remains open.

 

 

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.

Pop-up gallery takes over Clematis Street space

img_5329

Art has made its way out of an art show and onto Clematis Street in West Palm Beach.

Mr. Brainwash made such a big splash at the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary Art Fair this past weekend in the city owned “tent site” that a Cleveland-based gallery has opened a pop-up art gallery downtown featuring his work and other artists.

Contessa Gallery now is leasing 539 Clematis Street  as a winter satellite location, according to gallery co-owner Steve Hartman.

The pop-up gallery, which began stocking the space immediately after the weekend show, was an impulsive move by Hartman and West Palm Beach property owner Jonathan Gladstone.

But sometimes art, like love, is hard to explain.

So it was that Gladstone and one of his children were captivated by the modern pieces shown by Contessa, which has a collection featuring pieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Gladstone was especially struck by works done by Mr. Brainwash, the high-profile street artist and former French filmmaker, Thierry Guetta, also known as MBW.

And Hartman, who counts a longtime following of Palm Beach and Miami clients, had been thinking of setting up shop in a more permanent way locally.

Neither man overthought it, fortunately, and 36 hours after they met, Hartman was putting pieces up on the wall of Gladstone’s building.

The property previously housed Footwear & More and prior to that, Habatat Galleries.

Gladstone is psyched about his current tenant: “It’s maybe one of the greatest opportunities for Clematis Street to present a really serious artist and one that has worldwide recognition.”

Contessa’s Hartman is excited, too. It’s the first pop-up gallery he’s done but he’s thinking of doing it other cities.

“We’re very passionate about what we do and we talk to everybody,” he said. “We’re very approachable.”

And fun. The whimsical pop artwork stocked by Contessa is recognizable and easy to appreciate.

And the folks at Contessa like to spend time talking to buyers, who often become close friends, Hartman said.

Hartman said Mr. Brainwash is particularly sought after: “He’s the hottest artist in the world. And he’s collected all over the world.”

On Wednesday afternoon, about 50 works were already hung on the walls and more were on the way.

Get free coffee at this Starbucks today in West Palm Beach

A West Palm Beach Starbucks is offering free coffee for a limited time today.

From 1 to 2 p.m., customers each can grab one free tall handcrafted espresso drink at the Starbucks by the Palm Beach Outlets, 1815 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It’s part of Starbucks’ 10 Days of Cheer, where 100 stores each day will offer free espresso drinks for an hour during the afternoon. Customers can get anything from a mocha to a flat white to a chestnut praline latte, the company said.

Customers also can grab a “Cheer Card” while they’re picking up their free coffee. The Cheer Cards will have special offers, including 50 percent off certain beverages or food items, or free cookies.

The 10 Days of Cheer started Dec. 23 and ends Jan. 2. Each day, a new 100 stores will be announced at www.starbuckscheer.com.

Other Florida cities with stores taking part today: Winter Park, Callaway, Melbourne, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

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.