Lake Worth’s Gulfstream Hotel, built in 1925 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, looks set to be revived after being shuttered for more than 10 years.
Last month, the Lake Worth City Commission approved a zoning change that will allow Delray Beach-based developer Hudson Holdings to go ahead with its $70 million plan to renovate the property at Lake Avenue and South Lakeside Drive, a block from the Intracoastal Waterway.
The commission approved a rezoning of the seven-parcel site to entirely downtown mixed-use from the previous combination of downtown mixed-use and multi-family residential.
Hudson Holdings plans to restore the crumbling, six-story hotel, shrinking its room count to 87 from 106, and intends to wipe away two nearby buildings so it can erect a five-story, 87-room annex to the hotel instead. Both buildings will carry Hilton’s upscale Curio Collection brand.
“This is an iconic Palm Beach County hotel with enormous history,” Steve Michael, co-founder of Hudson Holdings, told The Real Deal. Sitting several blocks away from Lake Worth’s downtown, “it’s a focal point of the Lake Worth community and at the edge of the [town of] Palm Beach community,” he said. Palm Beach lies across the Intracoastal from Lake Worth.
He equates the Gulfstream Hotel’s prestige to that of Palm Beach stalwarts the Breakers and Four Seasons. Hudson Holdings specializes in renovating landmark historic buildings. “We will follow the National Trust for restoration guidelines,” Michael said.
The new Gulfstream will have a downstairs restaurant and a rooftop sky bar. The annex building will include a health club that’s open to the public. There also will be a two-story, 73-space parking garage. Hudson Holdings will manage the project.
Michael says the development will be crucial for revitalizing downtown Lake Worth, which like downtown West Palm Beach to the north, has some vibrant areas and also some vacant ones. “This is a catalyst to downtown renovation,” Michael said. “We own a lot of properties [apartment buildings] in downtown Lake Worth and look at this as a key to future development there.”
Lake Worth has been criticized for being inconsistent in its development, because of staunch political opposition to building plans. Even the city commission’s approval of rezoning for the Gulfstream project came only in a 3-to-2 vote. The opponents, commissioners Christopher McVoy and Ryan Maier, were unavailable to speak with TRD, but they have publicly expressed concern about the height of the project, specifically the 65-foot maximum for the annex building.
Michael, of Hudson Holdings, scoffs at the criticism. “The height of the annex is lower than all the surrounding buildings,” he said. “There’s no reason to be concerned about 65 feet when the ones next to them are 75 feet and 100 feet. This is just a way for a group of people who don’t want Lake Worth to move forward to try to get their way.” The opponents’ don’t have the city’s best interests as their priority, he said.