Jonathan Gladstone: the anti-Jeff Greene of West Palm Beach

Miami /
Feb.February 09, 2016 12:00 PM

You can call West Palm Beach developer Jonathan Gladstone the anti-Jeff Greene.

While Greene has a slew of land holdings around the city slated for massive development projects, Gladstone owns just three single buildings. At 209 Sixth Street, Gladstone has just inked a deal with The Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill, the funky triple-play concept that also has succeeded in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

A butcher shop is needed in the location, which sits at the northern end of downtown West Palm, because so much residential development is planned for the area, Gladstone told The Real Deal. Already phase one of Loftin Place has opened nearby at 805 N. Olive Street. with 259 luxury apartments.

“Then in addition to the butcher shop, you have a super cool beer garden and grill. Having the Wynwood location, these people understand cool and what people want,” Gladstone said. “Combining the usages made it overwhelming.” The restaurant’s owners, Igor Niznik and his son Fred, hope to open by fall.

Gladstone began buying real estate in West Palm Beach 23 years ago with the purchase of what is now the Don & Ann Brown Theater at 201 Clematis Street.

Last month, he bought the building at 3815 South Dixie Highway in the heart of the booming South Dixie Highway corridor. The Gulfstream Seafood Market & Bistro just closed at the location several weeks ago. The purchase price is listed in city records at $800,000, but that omits a portion of the property, Gladstone said. He declined to reveal the total purchase price.

Plenty of restaurants have shown interest in leasing the space, and plenty of investors have shown interest in buying it, Gladstone said. He would prefer to keep the building unless someone makes an offer he can’t refuse, he said. It will likely go to another seafood restaurant, as that has been its history for more than 15 years, or “a nouveau cuisine concept,” Gladstone said. “It will probably be gone in six weeks.”

Then there is 539 Clematis Street, where Gladstone bought the building new, 13 years ago. He has had a restaurant, a furniture store and most recently a shoe store tenanted there. Now, “I would prefer an art gallery, but also would love something like Urban Outfitters,” Gladstone said. “Anything that’s an attraction, but not a bar, restaurant or night club.”

He thinks those establishments already are too dominant on Clematis Street. “It has to go back to retail,” which dominated the street until the opening of the Palm Beach Mall in 1967. “The bars, restaurants and nightclubs have drawn in an unpleasant crowd that the city recognizes and is going to correct,” Gladstone said.

He’s bullish on West Palm‘s future. “It’s going to become a very densely populated city in a short time. The city is about to explode without any doubt,” Gladstone said. “But the city has to work more closely with property owners. It’s difficult to get things done sometimes.”


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