Plan for mixed-use project, AC Hotel in WPB wins first nod

Miami /
Jan.January 08, 2016 12:00 PM

West Palm Beach officials have granted preliminary approval for Navarro Lowrey to develop a mixed-use project at the old city hall site at the northern end of downtown.

The five-story, 57,400-square-foot building, which sits on 2.27 acres of land at 200 Second Street, has stood vacant since 2009. It would be demolished to make way for a 180-room Marriott AC Hotel, 300 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and a parking garage with 400 to 500 spaces. Navarro Lowrey would pay $11.5 million for the site.

“The site is highly valuable, because the location is close to Clematis Street and along the [Intracoastal] waterfront,” Frank Navarro, managing principal of the West Palm Beach developer, told The Real Deal. “Strategically the project creates a link to more development going north to Good Samaritan Hospital. Its uses meet the economic and planning goals of the city.”

Local real estate pros offer a positive assessment of the project, though they express a few minor qualms. “Anytime you take a publicly-owned property and get a developer involved that can create activity and increase the tax base, that’s a positive,” Bill Reichel, president of Reichel Realty, a commercial real estate services firm based in West Palm, told TRD.

Reichel noted West Palm Beach-based Navarro Lowrey’s experience as a developer. According to the company’s website, the firm, founded in 1993, has a South Florida portfolio that includes EcoPlex and One Lakeside, both in West Palm Beach.

As for the hotel, Marriott AC brands itself as an occupant of “select, urban, hip locations … with Spanish and European roots in our soul.” In September, the brand launched its first newly constructed hotel in the United States in Miami Beach. The AC Hotel Miami Beach was developed by Robert Finvarb Companies.

Navarro says the hotel may get business from attendees at the nearby convention center; business travelers, particularly those coming to the Palm Beach County Courthouse, located several blocks away; and tourists interested in exploring the town of Palm Beach.

He and others note the success of the Hyatt Place, located about one-half mile south, which opened in 2009. The new hotel will have the advantage of facing the waterfront, Navarro says. “Nothing against the Hyatt Place, but this will be a sexy alternative.”

When it comes to the apartments, West Palm desperately needs more, particularly downtown, local real estate pros say. “Housing is as tight as I’ve ever seen it,” Rebel Cook, president of Rebel Cook Real Estate, a commercial real estate services firm based in Palm Beach Gardens, told TRD.

On the retail side, Reichel thinks the project can do well with “incubator” spaces of 500 to 800 square feet.

But Cook sees uncertainty for the retail component. “It’s a block away from Clematis Street — the main thoroughfare of downtown — and retailers are having a hard enough time there,” she said.

And Reichel offers this note of caution about the entire project: while it looks great now, “when things get completed the world can change.” It will likely take 18 to 24 months to finish the development. In that time, the economy can take a turn for the worse and interest rates can rise substantially, putting a serious damper on the local real estate market, Reichel points out.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Brand Atlantic Real Estate Partners managing partners Andrew Dance and Adam Demark, and renderings of the two buildings at 300 Banyan Boulevard and 111 Olive Avenue (Brand Atlantic Real Estate, Getty)
JV scores $87M construction loan for West Palm Beach office projects
JV scores $87M construction loan for West Palm Beach office projects
Domenic Gatto and Banyan Cay Resort and Club (Linkedin, Banyan Cay, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Developers of troubled West Palm resort project facing $61M foreclosure
Developers of troubled West Palm resort project facing $61M foreclosure
Related chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez in front of 4906 North Flagler Drive (Related, Getty Images, Zillow)
Standard Oil heiress’ widower sells waterfront West Palm Beach estate to Related Group for $16M
Standard Oil heiress’ widower sells waterfront West Palm Beach estate to Related Group for $16M
From left: One Flagler in West Palm Beach, 830 Brickell in Brickell, and Eighteen Sunset in Miami Beach (Getty, Related Southeast, LoopNet, Koniver Stern Group)
Spurred by new-to-market firms, South Florida office rents hit record highs
Spurred by new-to-market firms, South Florida office rents hit record highs
Rendering of the Olara development by New York-based Savanna in West Palm Beach with Savanna's Chris Schlank (Arquitectonica, Illustration by The Real Deal)
Olara is latest residential high-rise development planned in West Palm Beach
Olara is latest residential high-rise development planned in West Palm Beach
Extra Space Storage's Joseph Margolis with 401 N Military Trl and 2300 N Military Trl (Loopnet, Extra Space Storage)
Double scoop: Extra Space Storage drops $29M for two West Palm Beach complexes
Double scoop: Extra Space Storage drops $29M for two West Palm Beach complexes
A photo illustration of the South Flagler House in West Palm Beach (The Boundary with Noe & Associates)
Developers pay $41.5M for bayfront condo towers dev site in West Palm Beach
Developers pay $41.5M for bayfront condo towers dev site in West Palm Beach
Kolter Land President Jim Harvey and the golf course development site on the NE corner of Okeechobee Blvd. and North Haverhill Road in Palm Beach County (Google Maps, Kolter Land)
Kolter pays $37M for golf course dev site proposed for 707 homes near West Palm Beach
Kolter pays $37M for golf course dev site proposed for 707 homes near West Palm Beach
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...