New entrance to West Palm Beach: Restoration Hardware

Planned 51K sf gallery is on a 2-acre site in the median of the main downtown road

May.May 26, 2015 12:00 PM

Does a fancy Restoration Hardware store represent an attractive entrance into downtown West Palm Beach? Yes, say area real estate professionals.

The home furnishings store has filed plans with the city for a 51,000-square-foot gallery at 560 Okeechobee Boulevard. That’s a 2-acre site in the median of the main downtown road leading to the Intracoastal Waterway on the east, and I-95 on the west.

“It’s a great architectural showpiece as you enter West Palm Beach,” Jonathan Satter, managing director of Avison Young, a commercial real estate services firm in West Palm Beach, told The Real Deal.

“Aesthetically, if it pans out, it would be a very attractive structure for a gateway,” Satter said.

The parcel sits across the street from CityPlace, West Palm’s popular outdoor mall, where Restoration Hardware already has a 12,000-square-foot store. The Related Group owns CityPlace and the parcel.

The proposed four-story structure looks much like a mansion in a rendering. It includes outdoor courtyards, garden terraces, reflecting pools, a fountain and a rooftop park.

“It’s a fantastic looking proposal,” Neil Merin, chairman of NAI Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach, told TRD. “They have renovated and built several showcase projects from scratch,” he said of Restoration Hardware, which is based in Corte Madera, California. Examples from Boston and Atlanta appear on the company’s website.

Related had plans for an office building at the site, but those plans didn’t pan out. “West Palm needs more office space, but maybe it wasn’t going to work there,” Merin said. “Walkability is difficult.”

The median sits in the middle of a six-lane road (eight with turn lanes), where cars often travel more than 40 miles an hour.

Restoration plans valet-only parking on the site and anticipates many customers will park in one of CityPlace’s garages and then walk across the street.

That leads to a concern of architect Rick Gonzalez, president of REG Architects in West Palm. “It’s a great plan. But I hope they will address a pedestrian connection, creating convenient crosswalks for pedestrians and not cars,” he said. “There should be calmer traffic there and landscaping to the east.”

On the opposite side of the median from CityPlace stands the Palm Beach County Convention Center, and the future home of the convention center hotel. Developing the median parcel should slow cars and help pedestrians get to the hotel and convention center from CityPlace, Gonzalez said.

And will the deal be profitable for Restoration? “You have to sell a lot of furniture to pay for the building and land,” Satter said.

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