The Real Deal Miami

Restaurant real estate soaring in Palm Beach County

From Houston's to Grato, national brands and regional concepts are expanding

December 29, 2015 03:45PM
By Dan Weil

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WestPalmRestaurants

217 East Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach and 222 Lakeview Avenue in West Palm Beach

The real estate market for restaurants in Palm Beach County is strong, with heightened demand and rising prices attracting a range of eateries, experts say.

“Demographics — heavy high-end to middle class — are conducive to restaurant owners,” Tom Prakas, owner of restaurant brokerage Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton told The Real Deal. “The population is rising, the economy is bustling and tourism is on the rise.”

The increase in housing prices also is leading consumers to eat out more, said Russ Bornstein, senior vice president at CBRE in Boca Raton. “People are feeling good about themselves,” he said.

The growth is particularly strong in Boca Raton, Bornstein told TRD. For example Houston’s, which already has one restaurant in the city, is planning another at Palmetto Park Road and the Intracoastal Waterway. Houston’s has seven locations in Florida, and this would be the third in Palm Beach County, Bornstein said.

On the low end of the restaurant scale, Chipotle is planning a fifth Boca Raton location in the Park Place shopping center scheduled to open next year on Military Trail, south of Clint Moore Road and Office Depot’s corporate headquarters (5540-5590 North Military Trail).

Park place rendering

Rendering of Park Place

The center will also include Habit Burger; Burton’s Grill; Raw Juice, a Boca Raton-based fresh juice and vegan food restaurant; Phenomenon, a nitrogen-based ice cream parlor; and Rappy’s Deli, a new concept from famed South Florida restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who also owns Apeiro Kitchen & Bar in Delray Beach and Midtown Miami.

“What restaurants like about Boca is that there is 11 million square feet of office space around Glades Road and I-95,” Bornstein said. He said many restauranteurs seek “second generation” space — properties previously occupied by restaurants. “If you can go to a space that was formerly a restaurant, it’s a huge cost savings,” he said.

Prakas said he is working on projects for eight new restaurants in Boca Raton, half of which are national brands and half regional concepts.

And it’s not just Boca Raton. Prakas brokered the sale of the building that houses Buddha Sky Bar at 217 East Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach for a whopping $7 million. The seller was Larry Lipnick, and the buyer group was led by Bobby Yampolski.

In West Palm Beach, Prakas sold a restaurant condominium in Via Jardin at 330 Clematis Street in the heart of downtown. He doesn’t know who the tenant will be. Prakas also leased restaurant space in the 17-story, Class A Esperante office building at 222 Lakeview Avenue in downtown West Palm. A ground-floor restaurant will occupy 5,000 square feet and a rooftop lounge, 4,000 square feet. Prakas couldn’t name the tenants.

And Palm Beach’s popular Buccan restaurant is opening a casual Italian eatery, Grato, at 1901 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, early next month.

Analysts say the party won’t end soon. “Palm Beach County real estate, as it pertains to restaurants, is going to remain very strong for the next 18-24 months,” Bornstein told TRD. “Vacancies are going to remain low, as any new space coming on line will be gobbled up quickly.”

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