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.”

Lilly Pulitzer lovers in South Florida get early access to new summer items

Lilly lovers in South Florida have the chance to score the company’s latest summer items a week before anyone else.

Photo provided by the Lilly Pulitzer store in Boca Raton.

The store in Boca Raton is the first location in the country to offer the retailer’s new summer items, including dresses, strapless tops and resort evening wear.

RELATED: These new stores are coming to The Gardens Mall

Assistant manager Sara Mignano said the Boca store was selected by the company to be a model for visual displays for the last summer delivery, and as a result those items are already available here.

You won’t be able to get the items online or in any other Lilly store until July 5, Mignano said.

“We have the product out,” Mignano said. “It is the only place people will be able to shop this brand new line.”

The store is located at the Town Center at Boca Raton.

With Baywatch release, tourism leaders tout Palm Beach County’s best beaches

Several scenes from the new Baywatch movie were filmed at beaches in southern Palm Beach County, and local tourism officials are hoping to use the film’s release to convince out-of-town travelers the area is the “ultimate beach destination.”

In a public relations push launched one-day after the movie’s release, county tourism officials touted 10 of the county’s top beach spots, including South Inlet Park, where portions of the Baywatch reboot were filmed.

Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson, who star in the new Baywatch movie

RELATED: ‘BAYWATCH’ MOVIE BEING FILMED IN SOUTH COUNTY

“As a prime filming location for the Baywatch film, The Palm Beaches, Florida paves the way as the ultimate beach destination, with several scenes filmed at the luxurious Boca Raton Resort & Club and South County Inlet Park,” Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing arm, wrote in its public relations pitch.

The push comes as marketers turn away from more traditional forms of tourism advertising, as more travelers turn to social media for help with travel decisions.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers have slash funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm. With less money to market the state as a tourism hot spot, destination marketing organizations across Florida are looking for new and innovative ways to stay at the top of travelers’ minds.

RELATED: How social media influencer sells Palm Beach County tourism

Some tourism leaders argue movies like “Baywatch” can be used to help influence travelers’ decisions.

Take Netflix’s dramatic series “Bloodline,” which is credited for inspiring at least 30,000 overnight trips to the Florida Keys in 2015. Those out-of-town visitors spent more than $65 million during their stay, according to a marketing study commissioned by Monroe County.

South Inlet Park was used for filming part of the new Baywatch movie in Boca Raton on May 19, 2017. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

With Baywatch, film crews closed the parking lot at South Inlet Park last year to film scenes for the movie —  a motion picture based on the popular 1990s television show.

The movie stars Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and is directed by Seth Gordon.

Paramount Pictures split filming for the movie between South Florida and Georgia, where lawmakers offer large tax incentives to entice production companies to come to their state.

Florida lawmakers killed a similar tax incentive program last year.

That isn’t stopping Palm Beach County tourism officials from trying to capitalize on Baywatch’s release.

“From the fabulous glistening waters of Lake Worth Pier to the infinite stretches of golden sand along Delray Beach, here are 10 of The Palm Beaches’ 47 miles of beaches, proving the destination as the ultimate beach getaway,” Discover said in its marketing effort. “Keep your eyes peeled for lifeguards at the ready!”

The Boca Inlet and South Inlet Park were used for filming part of the new Baywatch movie in Boca Raton on May 19, 2017. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Here is Discover’s complete beach list:

South Inlet Park – Boca Raton, Fla

Used as a key filming location, The South County Inlet Park, as seen in Baywatch’s opening scene, is certainly not to be missed. With a beautiful array of aquatic life and interesting underwater rock formations, this is a great snorkelling spot. The beach has a small and intimate feel, allowing guests to fish from the shoreline or the jetty. Water sport enthusiasts are also free to take a break from jumping the waves in inlet, by picking a good, soft spot of sand.

Delray Beach, Fla.

Classed as Florida’s village by the Sea, Delray Beach is a place infused with style, cultural goings on and places to find serenity. Enjoy strolls along the inviting sidewalks, gourmet restaurants, friendly bistros, and outdoor cafes with boutiques, gift shops, and performing art centres for a vibrant streetscape.

Lake Worth Pier – Lake Worth, Fla

Here you can stand atop the Atlantic Ocean on one of the most breath-taking piers in The Palm Beaches to watch the sunrise. If you are an early riser, enjoy breakfast at Benny’s On the Beach and watch the surfers or beachgoers.

Carlin Park – Jupiter, Fla.

In the northernmost region of The Palm Beaches, discover the wonderful beachfront park with volleyball, tennis, softball and even bocce ball in Jupiter’s Carlin Park. Run or walk the exercise course that features multiple unique training stations. After, grab a bite to eat at Duke’s Lazy Loggerhead Café, a quaint dinner nestled along the beach.

Juno Beach Park – Juno Beach, Fla. 

Say hello to the most beautiful sunrise spot in Juno Beach. Experience the beautiful orange glow dipping behind the waves as its sets over The Palm Beaches iconic pier. Juno Beach is also one of the most densely nested beaches in the world for sea turtles. If you’re looking to spot one, stop by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, which is dedicated to rehabilitating injured sea turtles.

Riviera Municipal Beach – Riviera Beach, Fla.

Discover a beach with a splash of activity, such as hiking and bike paths. This is the perfect spot for those who enjoy a gentle jog in the warm breeze. Delight yourselves in the seven miles of sparkling golden sandy beach.

Phil Foster Park – Riviera Beach, Fla.

Experience the world-famous waters in Phil Foster Park, most notably recognized for its abundance of marine life and the Underwater Snorkel Trail. This is a premier spot for scuba divers and beginner snorkelers alike. Giant starfish and brightly-coloured tropical fish populate the waters, making a stunning underwater show.

Palm Beach Municipal Beach- Palm Beach, Fla.

Big and beautiful with spectacular vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, Palm Beach Municipal Beach is a sight to behold. Sit by the promenade and enjoy the fantastic views, or enjoy a nice walk along the stretch of pristine sand.

Coral Cove Park – Tequesta, Fla.

One of the more northern beaches in the county and one that cannot be missed. If you enjoy a quieter beach but still want the benefits of great snorkelling, shelling and paddle boarding, this is the place. Also, enjoy the limestone rock formations that make for great photos

Boynton Beach, Fla.

Boynton’s beachfront beauty is a must see. Known as America’s Gateway, dividing the heart of the Florida Everglades and the Gulf Stream, beach lovers can enjoy a warm, relaxing sea breeze infused with “Old Floridian” charm.

 

 

New food tour in Delray Beach offers taste of Atlantic Avenue

Delray Beach-based Craft Food Tours opened its doors in December, offering both tourists and locals a chance to eat their way through a 1.1-mile tour of the city.

The company, run by owner Matt Guidice and his business partner Anthony Guzman, offers three-hour walking tours with stops at six restaurants in downtown Delray Beach.

MORE: Culinary tours bolster Palm Beach County’s tourism menu

Since opening six months ago, Craft Food Tours has hosted roughly 45 groups. Public tours are offered on weekends.

Now the company is looking to expand.

Guidice, who recently decided to quit his full-time job with a bank in Miami to focus on growing the tourism business, said he plans to launch a Thursday night tour for locals this summer. By the start of the winter tourism season, he plans to offer tours Tuesdays through Sundays.

Guidice also hopes to begin offering private tours for large groups.

Since opening last year, the tour company has built up its reputation on the tourism-related website TripAdvsior. The site now ranks Craft Food Tours among the Top 10  “Things to Do” in Delray Beach.

Craft Food Tours is one of four local businesses seizing on a growing trend in the tourism industry — food-themed travel.

RELATED: New beer bus offers tours of Palm Beach County’s local breweries

“The great thing about these tours is that a lot of them introduce you to local restaurants you may not have experienced on your own,” said Ashley Svarney, the Director of Public Relations and Communications at Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing organization.  “That is what more and more travelers want. They want to know these local places that they can only experience when they visit a place like The Palm Beaches.”

As many as 40 percent of U.S. travelers plan their vacations around food, according to the World Food Travel Association. In Palm Beach County, 28 percent of all tourists cite culinary motivations as the reason for their visit, tourism officials have said.

“Food is really the only universal language,” Guidice said.

After taking roughly 20 food tours in cities across the world, Guidice said he decided to start his own. Guidice and Guzman decided to launched the company in Delray Beach.

The tours cost $65 for adults and include 12 tastings, 2 cocktails and a craft beer.

The company partners with eight restaurants in Delray Beach, including several smaller spots,  Guidice said.

“We have fantastic relationships” with the restaurants, Guidice said. “Without the restaurants we can’t do the food tour.”

The rise of culinary tours in Palm Beach County is a testament to the area’s flourishing food scene,  Svarney said.

“The culinary scene it really is taking off, and more and more people are noticing,” Svarney said.

The county’s culinary tours can also help drive business to area restaurants, she added.

“These culinary tours have the opportunity to produce more business for these restaurants and bars later on down the road,” Svarney said. “These visitors might have samples of a very small dish that they fell in love with and maybe the come back and enjoy a full dinner or a full lunch.”

See where Duffy’s is opening its 35th restaurant

Jason Emmett, president of Duffy’s Sports Grill

Duffy’s Sports Grill, the homegrown restaurant chain expanding throughout the state, is opening its first new Palm Beach County location in six years: At a prime intersection west of Boca Raton.

By the end of the month, Duffy’s will take over the TGI Friday’s restaurant at the northwest corner of 441 and Glades Road, said Jason Emmett, Duffy’s president.

The eatery marks the Lake Worth chain’s 35th restaurant. It also ends a 10-year search for a west Boca Raton location, Emmett said.

Although Duffy’s already has a restaurant in central Boca Raton, on St. Andrews Boulevard, Emmett sees west Boca as a different market. It’s surrounded by housing communities, including country club communities, but it doesn’t have a lot of restaurants.

“It’s dense with lots of housing and lots of Duffy’s customers,” Emmett said.

Emmett likened the spot to the chain’s location west of Boynton Beach, at Jog Road and Boynton Beach Boulevard. That store is the company’s best performer, with customers ranging from older diners to families, he said.

TGI Friday’s is expected to close by around May 21. At that point, Duffy’s will commence with its signature interior renovations, including adding more than 100 televisions, plenty of memorabilia and lots of green paint.

Plans are to open the space as a Duffy’s by early September.

This restaurant marks the chain’s 14th Palm Beach County location. Over time, Emmett sees the county’s western housing growth as an opportunity for new Duffy’s restaurants. But not right away.

In the meantime, the chain continues to grow throughout the state, opening a Sarasota location on March 10. That date is the birthday of Jason’s father, Duffy’s patriarch Paul Emmett, who died two years ago in February from cancer. He was 62.

 

This national chain has opened in the Boca mall

Papyrus, an upscale chain selling greeting cards, stationary, invitations, wrap and unique gifts, has opened its doors at the Town Center at Boca Raton. 

The 791-square-foot store is located in the Nordstrom wing, next to Pottery Barn.

“We are thrilled to have such an exciting announcement to share with our community,” Sean Carroll, director of marketing and business development at Town Center at Boca Raton said in a statement. “We are continually looking to enhance our visitor’s shopping experience by offering a vast array of retail offerings.”

Macy’s Backstage outlet store to open this weekend at this local mall

Macy’s Backstage, the company’s outlet store, will open its first Florida location on Saturday (April 29) inside the Macy’s at the Boynton Beach Mall.

Caption:CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 14: A shopper carries a purchase from Macy’s along the Magnificent Mile shopping district on August 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Macys reported lower than-expected second quarter sales today and cut their profit outlook for the year. Some analysts fear the disappointed news will reverberate throughout the retail sector because Macy’s is looked at as a barometer of spending among middle- to upper-income shoppers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

To mark the occasion, the company plans to give away $20 gift cards to the first 100 customers. A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m.

The 19,000-square-foot outlet space will boast the “best of the Macy’s department store brand,” the company said.

The outlet’s opening comes less than a month after Macy’s closed its CityPlace location.  The 108,000-square-foot store in CityPlace is one of 68 locations the retailer plans to close this year as part of a downsizing effort aimed at boosting the retailer’s digital sales, outlet stores and luxury beauty division.

This Boca hotel just completed a multi-million dollar renovation

The Hampton Inn Boca Raton on Yamato Road has completed a multi-million dollar renovation project that includes upgrades to all 94 of its guest rooms, lobby, business center and pool.

The Hampton Inn Boca Raton, 1455 Yamato Road, has completed a multi-million dollar renovation project. (Photo provided)

The project, which hotel officials said cost between $2.8 and $3.2 million to complete, started in August.  The hotel plans to hold a grand re-opening ceremony today. Local business leaders and tourism officials are expected to be in attendance.

Hotel officials said renovations to the rooms included everything from the carpet to the mattresses. Rooms with two double mattresses were upgraded to queens.

The hotel, originally built in 1996, ranks 2nd of 27 hotels in Boca Raton on Trip Advisor. As a perk for its guests, the hotel provides day passes to the neighboring Lifetime Fitness.

The renovation comes amid a surge in the number of hotel rooms in the Boca area, tourism officials said.

“This Hampton Inn renovation continues to strengthen our growing Boca Raton hotel product, along with the recently opened Hyatt Place and the future opening of the Mandarin Oriental,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “Boca Raton now boasts one third of the county’s room inventory with more options for visitors, at a variety of price points and locations, which help us promote our southernmost city as a desirable vacation and meetings destination.”

 

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.