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The Northern Palm Beach County Boom

Something is happening to North County. From the development of Harbourside Place to the arrival of the Palm Beach Outlets and Trader Joe’s, massive changes are on the horizon – ones that are likely to keep seasonal residents here longer and attract more visitors. Get ready for an exciting 2014-2015 season. This time next year, you may not even recognize the place we call “home.”

Those returning to paradise for the season, as well as year-round residents who have sunned – and sweated – their way through the summer, will notice some shifts in the skyline surrounding Northern Palm Beach County.

From the tented peaks of Palm Beach Outlets off Interstate 95 to the working cranes at the Riviera Beach Marina overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, to the cylindrical roofs atop Harbourside Place in the heart of Jupiter, a growth spurt has given the area an enviable edge.

The real-estate Renaissance has resulted in the rising of booming businesses, condominium complexes and multi-use malls like Harbourside Place. Let us take you on a tour of the ever-evolving local landscape.

Harbourside Place to give Jupiter a new downtown

This month’s opening of the sparkling structure at the corner of U.S. Highway 1 and Indiantown Road will deliver a dynamic downtown to Jupiter with 53,700 square feet of retail space, 36,500 square feet of restaurant space, a 15,000-square-foot amphitheater and a 4,500-square-foot cultural-arts center.

“We built this to be a downtown, so we needed an entertainment center,” Tara Monks, director of public relations for Allied Capital & Development of South Florida, says of the thoughtfully designed outdoor stage that is accented by an interactive fountain.

The cultural-arts center will provide local non-profit organizations with a space for activities.

Anchoring Harbourside Place’s five stories is the 179-room Wyndham Grand Jupiter. Other tenants include Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Chico’s, Swim ’n Sport, Tommy Bahama and Too Bizaare. An art-in-public-places program throughout the property and interactive fountain at the foot of the amphitheater add a flash of flair. Its Loxahatchee River location serves as the pièce de résistance.

“You can bring your boat here, you can take a water taxi here, you can paddleboard here,” Nick Mastroianni II, the development company’s president, says. “Look at what we’ve got. We’ve got South Florida for what it is.”

The Jupiter Riverwalk runs along the perimeter, providing public access to the town’s revered resource.

Palm Beach Outlets: Goodbye Palm Beach Mall, hello affordable luxury

The 500,000-square-foot, store-dotted retail retreat on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard debuted earlier this year with marquees including Aqua Beachwear, Kenneth Cole, PacSun, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH and Swarovski. Next month will see the opening of the 300,000-square-foot Marketplace at the Outlets, a collection of four big-box buildings that will house Bed, Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom Rack, Pier 1 Imports, Sports Authority and Whole Foods Market.

“There are possibilities for more buildouts to come,” Marketing Director Pam Rada hints of the site of the old Palm Beach Mall. “There are possibilities that there will be another phase later on.”

Marketplace at the Outlets will appeal to shoppers as much – if not more – than Palm Beach Outlets has, Rada predicts.

“We were the missing piece of the puzzle,” she says of the dual shopping hubs, part of West Palm Beach’s anticipated $1.3 billion in new construction during the next five years. “We have some big brand names, and we just want to keep bringing in more.”

Palm Beach Outlets’ retailers report “they’re blowing away their goals,” Rada says.

“We have great stories to tell,” she says. “It’s positive feedback on everything.”

New condos and residential developments popping up across North Palm Beach county

On the residential front, new condominiums promise to set the bar for luxury living.

Frankel Enterprises, of Admirals Cove, San Michele and Valencia fame, plans to go vertical with a two-building, five-story development on 15 acres at the southeast corner of Donald Ross and Prosperity Farms roads. It will be called Azure. Each of the 113 units, breaking ground in the spring, will overlook the Loggerhead Marina.

“It’s going to be gorgeous,” Azure spokesman Bob Gibson says. “Their goal is to make a boutique condominium. It’s relatively small, but the units are giant – up to 4,000 square feet.”

Azure’s tagline: “Waterfront Living. Perfected.” Its hallmark: “Concierge-style service where all you have to do is call the front desk,” Gibson says.

“The market is really folks moving out of a $7 million house or a $3 million house and wanting to downsize to a million-and-a-half-dollar condominium,” he says. “They don’t want to leave the neighborhood. Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter are kind of special to these folks. All their friends are still here.”

Gibson targets the move-in date at early to mid 2016.

“It’s a cool project,” he says. “The turnkey-condo lifestyle has become a lot more appealing, especially once you get above 64.”

Later this year, a new Couture Homes community along the Intracoastal Waterway will break ground off of Palmwood Road, just north of Donald Ross Road. Harbor Place will be an exclusive, gated community featuring seven state-of-the art homes. The 6,000-plus-square-foot homes designed by Smith and Moore Architects, Inc., will have a West Indies influence. Every home will have its own dock on the Intracoastal, a swimming pool and Lutron lighting controls.

“Our success and proven record in the high-end, custom home market, our competitive pricing, as well as our ability and expertise to construct homes using only the finest materials and latest architectural specifications – all this in only 10 months from design to completion – will make Harbor Place a certain success,” Couture Homes President Gary Hartogh says.

A new gated, waterfront condominium community by Kolter Urban – Water Club in North Palm Beach – promises to be rich with amenities. Situated on seven acres just a half mile south of Palm Beach Gardens, the property will light up the skyline with two, 22-story condominium towers designed by Randall Stofft Architects Limited, offering unobstructed water views.

Riviera Beach Marina plans to add a ‘restaurant row,’ events center and park

While the closing of the Tiki Waterfront Sea Grill saddened the surrounding community, it came at a good cost. With demolition already underway, its special spot beside the bustling charter docks will pave the way for the emergence of “restaurant row,” one of the many family-friendly facets of the reimagined Riviera Beach Marina.

Known for its live music and tropical drinks, “the Tiki,” as patrons called it, has plans to reopen at the north end of the promenade next to the $4 million made-over Bicentennial Park.

“I’ve seen some drawings and sketches of the new ‘Tiki,’ and it looks fantastic,” Tyler Alten, vice president of Viking Developers, says. “Thatched roofs and everything.”

The city and its Community Redevelopment Agency have embarked on the first phase of a $375 million public-private partnership that, in addition to “restaurant row” and Bicentennial Park, will kick off the creation of a two-story events center with meeting space, an upstairs terrace and a ballroom named after Newcomb Hall.

“The things that we have in store for this project are truly amazing,” Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tony Brown says. “When you come to Riviera Beach, it looks industrial. We want to complement that with a ‘wow’ factor that’s completely different from what Riviera Beach’s reputation is today.”

Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce’s new branding initiative to capture area’s essence

Tying together the plethora of Palm Beach County projects and helping stimulate more comes as an unprecedented effort by the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. In late spring, the Chamber called upon representatives from 10 municipalities between Mangonia Park and the Martin County line to identify the area’s assets. The representatives formed a steering committee and enlisted Starmark, a Fort Lauderdale-based marketing agency, to bring out their best, from ball fields to beaches to businesses.

“There’s a uniqueness to the northern part of the county,” Brown says. “The energy and the easy access to the ocean … the diversity of the demographics, the variety of the neighborhoods – that, in and of itself, is significant.”

Riviera Beach has a major port and Peanut Island. North Palm Beach has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and the county’s only state park. Juno Beach has a fishing pier and Florida Power & Light Company.

“Every one of these municipalities has [its] individual thing going on, but the fact is, they’re dependent on one another,” Chamber CEO Beth Kigel says.

Michele Jacobs, the steering committee’s chairwoman, agrees.

“You could live in Jupiter but work in Palm Beach Gardens and dine on the waterfront in Riviera Beach,” Jacobs says. “We live in a really special place that has a lot of amenities that, maybe, we take for granted. I just feel like North County needs a cohesive message.”

Starmark and the Chamber have collaborated on the branding initiative and expect to roll out a campaign by the end of the year. They have gathered data, studied statistics, spotlighted strengths and weaknesses and conducted focus groups and webinars to learn what business leaders and homeowners love about their own backyards.

When completed, the initiative will arm the Chamber with a tool to tout the area.

“Our No. 1 goal is economic activity,” Jacobs says.

National retailers add new North County homes

Economic activity in North County will get a few more shots in the arm with the opening of Bass Pro Shops, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas and Trader Joe’s, a tantalizing triumvirate. Michael Dunham, director of real estate for Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops, says the sporting-goods store has plans to move into the old Carls Plaza on U.S. Highway 1 in North Palm Beach, although the official deal has not closed.

“Palm Beach County is a good geographical fit,” Dunham says. “There’s a tremendous amount of fishermen – recreational and commercial – in the region. It’s got great proximity to some of the biggest and most impactful marinas in South Florida.”

Further north on Route 1, Cinépolis will open early next year at The Shoppes at Jupiter after a summer’s worth of renovations. The movies-with-a-menu motif will entertain audiences with flicks, food and fully reclining leather seats.

“What makes Cinépolis USA unique is that we provide guests with a hybrid movie-going experience,” spokeswoman Suzanne Davis says, noting the gourmet options that range from artisan cheese to grilled paninis to sushi rolls, as well as the selection of beer, cocktails and wine. “Another unique feature of our cinemas is that we take great care in how we design each individual theater, allotting space for lounge-style lobbies where guests can relax and mingle before a movie begins.”

The Jupiter location will mark the Morelia, Mexico-based company’s first in the state.

A somewhat similar concept, Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille, plans to launch in late 2015 in Abacoa Town Center. The 75,000-square-foot complex will feature 20 bowling lanes, 12 movie auditoriums (complete with leather recliners, reserved seating and full-service dining) and The Grille restaurant.

On the performing arts spectrum, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, which is fresh off of the completion of a $2.5 million expansion that included a renovated lobby, club-level lounge and seating area – and is already the largest regional theater in the state – plans to continue growing over the next three to four years. Theatre officials have been in talks with architects to increase the size of its popular Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, increase the size of its stage and production facilities and add a second performance space, or “black box” theatre.

The summer opening of European-style, fresh food grocer The Fresh Market has already left an impact on the area. Built where the old Jupiter Island Grill was, the grocery chain set out to revitalize the Fisherman’s Wharf shopping center.

Following that trend, another national grocery retailer, Trader Joe’s, opened in September at PGA Plaza in Palm Beach Gardens. The Trader Joe’s name conjures up images of the “Fearless Flyer” newsletter and colorful Hawaiian shirts, as well as the tastes of baked breads, cosmopolitan coffees, and fresh and frozen finds from around world. Alison Mochizuki, director of public relations for the Monrovia, Calif.-based company, says the location seemed like a great fit.

“Palm Beach Gardens is a wonderful community,” Mochizuki says. “It is filled with foodies.”

Trader Joe’s offers more than 3,000 items, and its buyers travel the globe to obtain interesting products with regional appeal. It considers itself a “neighborhood grocery store” and goes to great lengths to reflect the city’s culture and environment through artistic décor.

“Our Palm Beach Gardens location will feature hand-painted murals throughout, featuring local landmarks,” Mochizuki says.

At press time, a 10,000-square-foot ULTA Beauty store was also under construction in the same shopping center as Trader Joe’s, located adjacent to Marshall’s. Bringing an ULTA to Northern Palm Beach County is about 10 years in the making, Robert Jacoby, chief operating officer of Menin Development Inc., says. It’s a huge achievement for PGA Plaza.

Jacoby expects Trader Joe’s and ULTA will both attract new consumers from near and far to the shopping plaza.

“It’s a great synergistic trio with Trader’s, Marshall’s and ULTA,” he says.

North County has entered an exciting era of change that promises not only to kindle new kinds of lifestyles for residents but also put the area on the map. Let’s revel in the rebound.