While Black Friday is expected to hold its spot as the busiest shopping day of the year, that hasn’t stopped retailers from continuing to court shoppers long before the Thanksgiving turkey hits the table.
The shuttered Macy’s at CityPlace in West Palm Beach will have a new look in December: A mural covering the exterior of the entire building.
The mural will closely follow the November opening of the new Restoration Hardware gallery just south of the shopping and dining center, in the Okeechobee Boulevard median.
The Macy’s art installation was described in a recent Wall Street Journal magazine article. Visual artist Michael Craig Martin will transform the former department store space, which closed earlier this year, into his largest mural to date, according to Ken Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of New York-based Related Cos., which built CityPlace.
In addition, sound designer Stephen Vitiello will create a sound installation “that will live in and around the detritus left behind” by brands that once called the space home, according to the article.
If it sounds a bit like the “Derelicte” fashion campaign imagined by the character Mugatu in the movie Zoolander, Himmel said there’s a method to this experiment.
“It’s all about driving different kinds of traffic to a project,” Himmel told the Journal. “Mixed-use retail developments centered on cultural offerings are outperforming every other type of retail offering by a longshot.”
In other words, art and culture are cool, and they help stores sell things.
Meanwhile, an invitation-only opening is set to Restoration Hardware’s new West Palm Beach store on Saturday, Nov. 18. The opening will feature socialites such as Georgina Bloomberg, Lourdes Fanjul and Ariana Rockefeller. Golf great Greg Norman and wife, Kirsten, also are slated to attend.
A bellini bar, cavier bar, mojito bar, gourmet bites by RH’s café, plus a DJ, are part of the festivities.
At a time when retailers (see Macy’s) are shuttering their brick-and-mortar stores, Restoration Gallery is going in the opposite direction, opening grand galleries dubbed RH in selected locations.
The RH invitation describes the four-story, 80,000-square-foot furniture store as a gallery that “blurs the line between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, home and hospitality.”
The gallery features a skylit rooftop restaurant with French antique black-and-white marble floors. In addition to interior furniture collections, including those for babies and teens, the gallery also has a rooftop “park” showcasing the store’s collection of outdoor furniture.
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.
With students back in school and the fall season just around the corner, shoppers can expect to find clearance prices on school uniforms, lawn tools and other outdoor equipment beginning after Labor Day.
The deal-hunting website FatWallet.com says September brings deep discounts on back-to-school clothing and yard items, like lawn mowers, trimmers, edgers, and hedgers.
Fall apparel and outdoor wear will also be on sale — but the best deals come later in the month, FatWallet says.
Labor Day sales will offer some discounts, but shoppers who wait until later in the month may find event better deals on jackets, long sleeve tops, work boots and denim clothing, the website said.
“Summer clearance sales feature outdoor sports apparel, college and professional teams merchandise, and hiking and hunting apparel with discounts in the range of 20-40 percent off from popular online stores like REI co-op, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sierra Trading Post, Cabela’s and others,” FatWallet said.
Back-to-school clearance prices will drop even more as retailers look to clear out merchandise to make way for holiday items.
“Look for deep discounts and site-wide sales online from brands like Levi’s, Lucky, Guess, True Religion and Lee among other popular brands,” FatWallet said.
Clearance sales on lawn tools and equipment will also ramp up following Labor Day weekend. FatWallet says shoppers can find the year’s best discounts on push mowers, riding mowers and lawn tools.
At the Whole Foods in West Palm Beach signs advertised new low prices on a number of staples including organic bananas, pasta sauce, eggs and milk.
Orange signs with the heading “New Lower Price — Whole Foods + Amazon” were posted throughout the store located at the Palm Beach Outlets on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.
Among the saving: Organic Pasta Sauce, $2.79, down from $2.99; a half-gallon of organic whole milk, $3.49 down from $3.99; and tomatoes, $1.99 a pound, down from $2.49.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement released last week. “Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”
Amazon completed its acquisition of Whole Foods on Monday. In addition to lower prices, the company has said it plans to offer “special savings and in-store benefits” to its Prime members.
Hurricane Harvey could cause gasoline prices in Florida to soar by as much as 30 cents a gallon, AAA warned Thursday.
The rapidly strengthening hurricane is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, threatening Gulf Coast oil refineries that help supply the state with gasoline, AAA said.
Nearly half of U.S. refining capacity is located on the Gulf Coast, and nearly one-third of those refineries appear to be in Harvey’s path, AAA said.
“This could be a big deal especially for Florida motorists,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “Florida pumps are primarily supplied by gasoline that sails over from refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.”
Gas prices in Florida were already climbing because of “pre-existing refinery issues in the region,” Jenkins said.
On Thursday, AAA estimated the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Florida to be $2.30, and $2.38 in Palm Beach County. The average price in Florida and Palm Beach County has risen by a dime in the past month, AAA said.
“This storm could cause more refinery closures and prevent tankers from moving fuel in-and-out of Texas ports, which would cause gas prices to surge from 10-30 cents,” Jenkins said.
Gas prices in Florida have climbed 5 cents over the last three days, AAA said.
Among the areas that have seen the largest price jumps: Tampa (10 cents), Orlando (10 cents), Fort Myers-Cape Coral (7 cents), and the region of Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice (6 cents).
Gymboree stores at CityPlace, Delray Marketplace, and the Boynton Beach Mall are among 350 stores slated to be closed. The company operates 1,281 retail stores under the Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands.
Liquidation sales at stores slated for closure are already underway, according to the company’s website.
“Right-sizing our store footprint is a central part of our efforts to ensure Gymboree emerges from this restructuring process as a stronger and more competitive organization, with greater financial flexibility to invest in our future,” Daniel Griesemer, President and CEO of Gymboree, said in a statement released in June. “Importantly, we will continue to operate a majority of our stores and will continue to deliver quality merchandise and superior service to our customers at our Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands. This was a difficult decision to make, but we are confident that it is in the best long-term interest of our Company, our customers and our broader employee base.
Gymboree also has stores at the Palm Beach Outlets, The Mall at Wellington Green and the Town Center at Boca Raton.
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 gointo 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 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 operatedCity 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.”
Visit Palm Beach, which offers kayak and paddle board rentals and cruises aboard its 50-foot catamaran Hakuna Matata from the West Palm Beach waterfront, has just announced it will offer a 90-minute eclipse catamaran cruise for residents and tourists who want to view the event from the water.