West Palm Beach OKs variance for long-vacant ground floor of condo

610 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach
610 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is setting aside a retail requirement for one condominium that hasn’t been able to attract any shops into its ground floor since it opened six years ago, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The West Palm Beach Action Committee agreed to allow the owners of the eight-story, 265-unit tower at 610 Clematis Street, near Rosemary Avenue, lease the five street-level units  for offices as well as stores. 

One space has been leased to the Italian restaurant Ristorante Santucci. The units range from 1,606 to 2,275 square feet, the newspaper said.

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The  owners, known as “CRE 2011 REO FL Retail LLC,” requested a variance on a rule in the downtown master plan that sets a minimum limit on downtown retail space. The panel  voted 4-1 yesterday to make the exception. David Carpenter, the lone dissenter, argued that  the city was “abandoning the retail aspect.”

Planner Ken Tuma of Urban Design Kilday, speaking on behalf of the owners,  told the committee that rates for office space in West Palm Beach are often triple that of retail rates, the report said. [Palm Beach Post]Mark Maurer