Jeff Greens owns most of West Palm Beach but not all of it (yet). One thing he doesn’t own is City Place, which is still trying to find itself after years of struggles. They have a revolving door of retailers and restaurants, and have had security issues. But as one of only two entertainment areas in the City’s Downtown area, it is already an enduring institution despite it being only 15 years old. There is a lot of excitement and hope about the hotel being built across the street. The hope is that many new large convention groups and tourists will walk across the street and boost the businesses at City Place. Meanwhile, a significant growth plan is being hatched on the current site of Publix. Related Cos, the owner of City Place, is hoping to relocate them across the street on some land they own. And then on that site build another 450,000 SF of retail space. Then another 400 apartments and 50,000 SF of more retail space will be built on this site and just North of it. The North part of the expansion will finally link to Clematis Street, something that has long been envisioned. But what the area really needs is more office space not more retail. City Place cannot fill the existing retail they have and adding 500,000 SF of more retail space will not help and will hurt the existing retailers. But it will create some jobs and it will increase and enhance the mixed use feel of the area which is great. I wish them the very best with the expansion but I have some reservations. This is one of those cases where I truly hope I am wrong. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
As you know, I am very bullish on Florida’s prospects regarding the potential trade and tourism with Cuba. I told you that the tourism would begin with large cruise ships because Cuba doesn’t have the hotel infrastructure to handle large volumes of tourists. But what I didn’t think about was all the smaller sea traffic that would be permitted. This article examines what could soon be a flood of luxury boats to Cuban ports with the loosing of travel restrictions, which can happen without lifting the embargo. Not only U.S. yachts are expected in this flood but also luxury vessels from other places as well. For one of these sleek yachts it is just a 4 hour trip from Florida’s Key West to Hemmingway Marina in Havana. These boats have all the trimmings, including satellite television, bedrooms, bars, etc. They are truly floating luxury hotels and pretty soon they will be able to travel freely to Cuba. Right now only certain permits have been granted to sailboats, ferry companies, 4 cruise lines and one yacht broker. That is expected to grow rapidly once large scale sea travel is authorized by the U.S. government. So we will soon essentially step back in time, before the embargo, when people traveled to Cuba freely from Florida for short weekend trips. I think this will go a long way towards helping Cuban citizens economically while also furthering our capitalistic market aspirations there. It should also foster more trade, and good will I am sure. It is very exciting, the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. One that should greatly benefit South Florida for years to come. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
This is very exciting stuff! It is all part of the nationwide trend of reducing cars and creating more mixed use areas where people can walk and bike. Typically when change comes to cities in Florida the cities initiate the changes. In this case the County of Palm Beach is initiating this, something I haven’t seen in the 14 years I have lived in Florida. It makes sense if you think about it. The U.S. 1 thoroughfare was planned and created 50 years ago around cars. It was originally a commuter thoroughfare that is no longer used in that fashion. The decreased amount of traffic there proves that. Now communities want more vibrant areas where people can walk and ride bikes. Really all that has to be done is add sidewalks, bike lanes and trees for shade, along with narrowing the road to prevent as many cars. Already at least 3 cities have asked the Florida Department of Transportation to narrow the roads. Delray Beach, as usual, is out in front on this initiative. They are narrowing their road from 3 lanes to 2 between George Bush Blvd. and Southeast 10th Street. They are also adding trees, pedestrian level street lights and widening the sidewalks. That work will be complete by the end of the year. New developers in the area will be required to do this. An express bus service from Boca Raton to West Palm Beach is also being explored. Clearly this change will not take place overnight in the County. But it will happen, and I bet within 5 – 7 years. And this is a great thing for everyone and long overdue. Yet another thing to look forward to, true progress that improves health, safety and appearance. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
Monday, November 16, 2015
This is a Rosenfeld Realty Advisor exclusive, no article was used! So I was at the ICSC Florida show and saw an old friend there. He recently got a job at the real estate company that handles all of Publix’s retail real estate. He confirmed what we have been speculating on here for some time, that Publix was looking to become an owner and developer. He said that Publix bought 6 centers last year and plans to buy 60 this year. They are undercutting the competition on price, paying 5 caps while everyone else is paying 6. Given their long term goals it only makes sense for them to pay that kind of number for property. Publix is already the largest privately held company in Florida and last year they made $1 billion in profit. Very quietly and politely they have become a monster to be reckoned with in the marketplace. And while they haven’t jumped into the development game full force yet, they still control at least 90% of the grocery anchored retail development that happens in Florida. And they will get into the development game full force, the only question is when. While they don’t look like Walmart, they are becoming like them quickly in terms of goals (ownership) and strategy (development). And like other competitors, their ambitions are not limited to Florida. I expect them to quickly expand in the Southeast in the coming years. We will keep our eye on Publix as they grow up. I just wonder what they want to be. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I have done a few posts on social media on this phenomena but I think it is a big enough story to get a full-fledged blog. This article begins with a 75 year old man, almost in tears, talking about leaving his home in Puerto Rico after 52 years. He doesn’t want to go and is understandably distraught over the new 75% sales and use tax that has been levied. In short, it is causing an exodus from the island and many of those people are heading to Florida. And not just to South Florida, but Central Florida as well. More people have been leaving the island instead of coming there since 2005 but things have really intensified since the new tax. A study that ended in 2013 showed that Puerto Rico was losing 50,000 residents per year. The real concern for the island is the future, since they have an incredible amount of debt and all the professionals are fleeing for greener pastures in the U.S. It is easy for them to do since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. And it has been a boon for Florida, since all these new residents pump money into the economy in the way of housing, cars, food, etc. And they start businesses and bring their established businesses with them, greatly contributing to the economy in that way as well. I am sure they feel right at home here with the majority of people speaking Spanish and lots of job opportunities. People coming from other places for a better quality of life and opportunity is what America is all about and I welcome them with open arms. I think that the migration from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries is helping keep our economy above the national average and makes it a much more interesting place. Like it or not, get used to it. Until the global economy improves people will keep coming to the U.S. for the chance at a better life.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Palm Beach County is finally getting a little love from Tri-Rail. You see prior to this announcement Palm Beach International Airport had been the only South Florida airport with no direct connection to Tri-Rail. In reality none of the airports have direct service but in Dade and Broward there is shuttle service on a people mover to the terminals. Now a similar service will be provided in Palm Beach County, in the form of a shuttle that will take only 10 minutes to get to the terminal. Every train that stops at the West Palm Beach station will be met with a shuttle at the same time. Right now there is a Palm Tran bus service that runs every 30 minutes. While this is an improvement and makes all airports equal in terms of public transportation, it is truly a band aid. We all know that the trains must eventually go directly to the airports without shuttle service, people movers, etc. for people to truly embrace it on a large scale. This type of mass transportation needs to happen not just to the airports but to many other places of interest, such as stadiums, ports, colleges, etc. This lack of mass transportation is the single biggest obstacle to growth in the region, and also worsens the traffic problem while we grow. It is encouraging to know that this has been addressed in a long term plan (the Seven50 plan, we wrote about it when it was announced) for the region but will it come soon enough? We are growing so quickly that by the time mass transportation catches up it could be too late. There are already dire traffic conditions in Dade and parts of Broward. With thousands of new homes on the way it promises to get much worse before it can get better. We will see how things unfold in the next few years, hopefully money and efforts will be stepped up towards the expansion of mass transit. It has to if everything is going to work. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
I really like Thai food but it is hard to find a good place. So I was intrigued when a friend told me about this place and how he had always wanted to try it. Although it is far East, over the bridge and East of Federal, I was game. It is just a couple of blocks from the beach and people are walking by the place, something that seemed a little strange when sitting by the window.
You can tell as soon as you walk in that the place is authentic. The Thai woman who owns it greets you, seats you and takes your order. She also brings out the food. There are only 8 tables here so she is able to do it, and all the tables were full by the time we left at 1:00. There were lots of specials and a distinction between “hot” spicy and “Thai spice” that I was not familiar with. They usually use the star system in Thai restaurants for spice, 1 for mild and 5 for hot. I went with the spicy chicken soup (Tom Yum Gai) and the bean thread noodles with chicken and vegetables. My friend got curry chicken. The soup was amazing, not just spicy but also a tangy flavor that easily made it the best soup I have had at a Thai restaurant. It just had chicken, mushrooms and onions in it and scallions and peppers floating on the top. The noodles were excellent, and there was a huge portion. It was not that spicy though, but I only ordered it hot so that must have explained it. My friend said his curry was the best he ever had and I could see that the “Thai spicy” was affecting him. He said that it was just right for him but his wife would have thrown up if she had it! I will definitely go with that next time! Since it was lunch we didn’t have anything but water but there were at least 10 wine bottles in the front counter facing the tables and some were pretty decent. While I really enjoyed this place I would be worried about it on a Friday or Saturday unless they take reservations. You certainly can’t go wrong with the food and there was no trouble getting in for lunch at 12. I would love to know about your favorite place or a place you have been recently and enjoyed. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.