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.”

What new concept will take over Boca Raton deli?

Park Place shopping center in Boca Raton

Goodbye, pastrami. Hello, pasta.

Rappy’s Deli closed in May after just five months at the new Park Place shopping center in Boca Raton. The space subsequently reopened as a lower-priced deli, Park Place Deli.

Now the prime location at 5560 N. Military Trail will be turned into a different concept: An Italian restaurant, according to restaurateur Burt Rapoport.

The Italian theme is one the veteran restaurant operator knows well.

Restaurateur Burt Rapoport

Back in 1989, Rapoport and another venerable restaurateur, Dennis Max, opened Prezzo on Glades Road.

The casual Italian joint that was a smash hit among area diners.

Rapoport said Prezzo, which operated for 10 years, was the first place in South Florida to have a wood-burning pizza oven.

And soon the Park Place space will have a wood-burning pizza oven, too, as well as other casual, “approachable” Italian dishes, Rapoport said.

An Italian restaurant is a concept Rapoport is confident will have greater success than Rappy’s did.

Rapoport said delis with an upscale tilt are springing up around the country, and that’s what his goal was with Rappy’s: Classic deli items with a modern twist.

“But it turns out this is the worse place in the country to do that,” he said.

Diners have a fairly set concept of what they expect in a deli, and creativity isn’t on the menu, Rapoport said.

“I knew the first week when we were serving this good-quality French mustard, and everyone said, ‘Where’s your deli mustard? How can you have a deli without deli mustard?’ ” he said.

“When people hear deli, the old-school deli comes to mind and that’s what everybody wanted, in terms of price and quality.

“I just totally misread the demand for the marketplace,” Rapoport said.

In addition, people tend to think of delis as breakfast and lunch places, he said. So dinner at Rappy’s wasn’t robust.

Now Rapoport is turning to everyone’s favorite food, Italian, which also tends to do well at dinner.

Of course, there are plenty of Italian restaurants in downtown Delray Beach, and several in east Boca Raton, including the newest one, Louie Bossi.

But Rapoport said there are few Italian eateries west of Interstate 95 in Boca Raton, with the exception of some chain eateries.

So he thinks there’s demand for a casual Italian eatery in the area.

Plans are to open the as-yet unnamed Italian restaurant at Park Place in October or November.


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.

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.



Farmer’s Table restaurant offering new Express food service


Farmer’s Table, a popular Boca Raton restaurant serving fresh, seasonal food, is opening a unique take-out business it hopes could be a model for future expansion.

Farmer’s Table Express will include sandwiches, salads and snacks. It also will feature popular Farmer’s Tables dishes that are sealed at the restaurant so they can be prepared later at home.

The restaurant has dubbed Farmer’s Table Express the “slow food fast” take-away concept. It is next door to the restaurant and adjacent to the Wyndam Hotel at 1950 Glades Road.

“We wanted to create new opportunities in a different way to get healthy food into consumers’ hands” — and do it in a fast, convenient way,” said Abigail Nagorski, Farmer’s Table Express general manager.

Mitchell Robbins, the restaurant’s co-owner, said customers dining in the restaurant will be able to order Express meals from their table and have their take-out orders brought to their table before they leave.

Customers also can order online at farmerstableexpress.com or by phone and pick up their food. Hours for Farmers Table Express are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Plans are to offer the service starting in late November or early December.

The idea has been in the works since the summer, Nagorski said, and the restaurant has an executive chef dedicating to Farmer’s Table Express. New menu items have been created, including the snacks, such as almond butter oat date bites and chia pudding parfait.

Owners decided to vacuum seal certain menu items, so they will taste as fresh as if diners ate them in the restaurant. The items can be heated at home in boiling water from one to five minutes. Nagorski said sealed items can last about two weeks in the refrigerator.

If the concept works, plans are to expand Farmer’s Table Express, possibly to standalone locations. Over time, there could even be home delivery.

Nagorski believes it’s the only concept in the area to combine sealed food techniques with meals that are already fully prepared.

Farmer’s Table is known for its healthy food, which is sourced from local farms when possible. Dishes are not prepared with butter or cream, and the restaurant does not have a deep-fat fryer or microwave.

In addition, the restaurant says it does not use food that has chemicals, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. The menu features something for everyone, including gluten-free items, vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as meat dishes.

Farmer’s Table is owned by Robbins and chef Joey Giannuzzi.


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.


Dick’s Sporting Goods plans giveaways for grand opening of Boca store

Dick’s Sporting Goods will hold a three-day grand opening celebration this month for its new Boca Raton store in Mission Bay Plaza on State Road 7.

051014 lib anchor: A two-story Dick's Sporting Goods will be one of three anchor stores at the future Liberty Center development. ------------- Customers walk into a Dick's Sporting Goods store at Simon Property Group, Inc.'s White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois Wednesday, June 8, 2005. This space was once occupied by a Montgomery Ward store. Mall owners such as Simon Property Group Inc. have been able to rent sites abandoned by department stores like Sears and Montgomery Ward to discount and specialty retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, Target Corp. and Linens 'n Things. Photographer: Randy Squires/Bloomberg News
Customers walk into a Dick’s Sporting Goods store at Simon Property Group, Inc.’s White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois Wednesday, June 8, 2005. Photographer: Randy Squires/Bloomberg News

The celebration starts on Oct. 28 and runs through Oct. 30. The store at 20429 South State Road 7 will open at 8 a.m. on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 and 9 a.m. on Oct. 30.

The first 100 people in line on Oct. 28 will receive a free Adidas Go-To Performance T-Shirt. Adults who are in line at 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 28 will get a chance to open the Dick’s Sporting Goods Gift Locker.

Giveaways on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 include a free “Mystery Gift Card” for the first 100 adults in line. Adults who are in line at 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 29 and 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 30 will also get a chance to open the Dick’s Sporting Goods Gift Locker.

Former NFL defensive end and linebacker Jason Taylor will make an in-store appearance from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 30. Wristband are required for autographs. Wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of event only and quantities are limited, the chain said.

“We continue to strive to bring the highest quality products and services to the communities that we are part of,” said Lauren Hobart, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Dick’s Sporting Goods. “The opening of our newest Dick’s Sporting Goods in Boca Raton will enable us to serve athletes, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts in the community at an even higher level.”

The Boca Raton store marks Dick’s 36th location in Florida. The sporting goods chain has more than 670 stores nationwide.

This big box retailer is hiring for its new Boca store

DICK’S Sporting Goods is now hiring for a new store set to open next month in Boca Raton.

051014 lib anchor: A two-story Dick's Sporting Goods will be one of three anchor stores at the future Liberty Center development. ------------- Customers walk into a Dick's Sporting Goods store at Simon Property Group, Inc.'s White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois Wednesday, June 8, 2005. This space was once occupied by a Montgomery Ward store. Mall owners such as Simon Property Group Inc. have been able to rent sites abandoned by department stores like Sears and Montgomery Ward to discount and specialty retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, Target Corp. and Linens 'n Things. Photographer: Randy Squires/Bloomberg News

Customers walk into a Dick’s Sporting Goods store at Simon Property Group, Inc.’s White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois Wednesday, June 8, 2005. Photographer: Randy Squires/Bloomberg News

The company said it plans to hire about 70 full-time and part-time employees for its new store in Mission Bay Plaza, located at 20429 South State Road 7.

Those interested in applying should visit  dickssportinggoods.jobs, the company said.

Need a job for the holidays? Check out this seasonal hiring event

The Boynton Beach Mall will host a seasonal holiday job fair on Oct. 6 for those interested in applying for full and part-time positions at some of its 135 stores and restaurants.

Matt Perlongo waits for customers outside Lids in the Boynton Beach Mall shortly before  6:30 Friday morning, after working since 8pm. A mall spokeswoman said the mall had been busy up until about 2am, when it died down. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)
Matt Perlongo waits for customers outside Lids in the Boynton Beach Mall shortly before 6:30 Friday morning, after working since 8pm. A mall spokeswoman said the mall had been busy up until about 2am, when it died down. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

The job fair runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will be held at the mall, 801 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach.

Available positions include openings at Victoria’s Secret, H&M, and Madame Butterfly. There will also be local businesses set up in the mall’s center court to speak with applicants.

Retailers and local businesses will be reviewing resumes and conducting on-the-spot interviews,  the mall said.