City board recommends against Delray Beach iPic proposal

 

Developers of a proposed movie theater in Delray Beach are being told that it is too big for downtown.

The Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board is recommending the denial of plans for an iPic theater.

Developers want to put the 8-screen theater between Southeast Fourth and Fifth Avenues near Atlantic Avenue.

City commissioners can still give the project the green light.

Delray agency wants to save city’s ‘Artists Alley’

A Delray Beach agency doesn’t want to see the city’s popular artists’ colony close.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board gave the green light to its attorney to inform the current owner of the warehouses the agency intends to purchase the space as a way to preserve it as affordable studios for artists.

Agency officials said there is “a window of opportunity” to make the current owner of the buildings, LNR Property LLC, an offer to purchase the space. According to the city, a recent appraisal values the property at around $3.5 million.

If the agency goes through with purchasing the space, it will need to borrow money to complete the transaction. The City Commission must approve the deal to borrow any money.

“It makes me really happy to hear,” said artist Steve Blackwood of the agency’s plans to try and buy the warehouses. “Pineapple Grove Arts District wouldn’t an arts district without Artists Alley.”

Future of celebrated arts colony in Delray Beach still uncertain

 

While Blackwood said his current studio isn’t located in one of the warehouse properties, he was one of the founding artists of Artists Alley. He helped create the area’s logo and paint the buildings.

“We really worked hard to make sure people understood the importance of the arts,” he said. “To lose that would be devastating.”

The area isn’t only a place that artists come to work. They open their work spaces to the public every third Thursday and first Friday of each month for after-hours “Arts Walks,” where folks can meet the artists, stroll the alley and appreciate art.

Part of the agency’s mission for the Pineapple Grove community is to promote it as an arts-and-culture destination for locals and tourists. Delray has been home to artists and artists colonies since the 1930s. It was once nicknamed “The Artists and Writers Colony” because it attracted many different types of artistic people.

 

The agency budgeted about $1 million in improvements on Third Avenue and Third Street and owns another empty warehouse nicknamed “The Cube,” which ultimately will become a hub where entrepreneurs and artists can work side-by-side in a creative space.

The agency purchased the Cube’s space on Northeast Third Street for $1.1 million in 2010 and plans to spend another nearly $3 million to renovate the building.

Agency officials say the ultimate goal if the agency were able to purchase the property would be to hire a property management company to oversee the area.

Then, the agency would put the site out to bid for interested developers with parameters outlining how the area must operate as a place that supports the existing arts enclave by providing affordable studio space and lofts to artists.

mgottesman@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6544 or Twitter @marisagottesman

 

How Delray Beach became the hottest spot north of Miami Beach

It’s difficult to imagine that Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach was once one of the most dangerous streets in South Florida.

Today, it attracts flocks of diners and shoppers just about every night. It has recently set retail real estate sales records. But in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was mired in blight.

Plenty of South Florida cities have laid renewal plans, but the plan Delray Beach’s civil and business leaders crafted has exploded into unparalleled success. The city was twice named an All-American City by the National Civic League and was lauded by USA Today as the most fun small town in America.

Former Mayor Jeff Perlman remembers when crowds blocked the streets and hooligans threw bottles at police. At that time, the city’s entrepreneurial talent included a lot of drug dealers and prostitutes. But a focused effort by the police department, and public investment in infrastructure and outdated properties turned things around, Perlman said.

Click on the attached slideshow for photos of downtown Delray Beach.

It is the story of a community development agency that did most everything right. The CRA, formed in 1985, invested in the streetscape, from the pavers to the lighting to the new parking garages. It provided incentives for property owners to improve the façades of their buildings, and subsidized rent payments for relocating businesses.

Delray Beach’s downtown has since benefited from more than $55 million in city bonds and at least $35 million in funding through the CRA.

“It started with the plan and the city’s public money being committed first, and that gave confidence to private-sector guys,” Perlman said.

The city purchased eyesore properties, including a crime-ridden nightclub and an adult bookstore, and redeveloped them. An abandoned elementary school at the center of town was restored as the Cornell Museum of Art & American Culture. And the former high school auditorium was reborn as the Crest Theatre, a site for events, classes and the performing arts. The museum and theatre are now part of Old School Square, which also includes an entertainment pavilion.

“When the private sector sees that, your phone starts to ring,” Perlman said. “We never had to go hunt. It came to us because of the investment.”

Frank Schnidman, executive director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions and a scholar on CRAs, said the Delray Beach CRA is one of the most successful in Florida. The city’s leadership developed a careful plan, amended it as necessary over the years, and allowed a board of appointees to run it, instead of city commissioners, he said.

Unlike some small city downtowns that greatly increased density and heavily subsidized developers, Delray Beach kept its modest building heights in place, Schnidman said.

“The redevelopment plan focused on keeping the scale where it was,” he said. “The focus of Delray Beach was to create an improved quality of life for the people of Delray Beach. It wasn’t to move people from New York and New Jersey into Delray.”

Developers have more than $750 million in projects planned for downtown Delray Beach. Retail rents on Atlantic Avenue have ballooned from $40 a square foot five years ago to $70 to $100 a square foot today, depending on the location, said Jim Knight, head of Delray Beach-based brokerage Knight Group. That’s driven by pedestrian traffic and spending, especially at night.

“There’s no question that national tenants will move to the prime spaces,” Knight said. “Local tenants can’t afford $100 per square foot, triple net.”

When the George Buildings on Atlantic Avenue sold for $19.5 million, or $1,274 a square foot, to an affiliate of Menin Development, that broke the retail pricing record there by 50 percent, said Marcus & Millichap senior associate Howard Bregman, who represented the seller.

“On the surface, it looks like an expensive deal, but in five years people will look back and say it was inexpensive,” Bregman said. “There are old leases at below-market rents with huge upside …. You will see new storefront development that will attract a different class of retailers. When I look at Atlantic Avenue, it’s similar to what’s going on at Lincoln Road [in Miami Beach].”

The cooperation between government and businesses was a key factor, especially the experienced business leaders who volunteered their time to promote the city, Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce President Karen Granger said. The city throws about 177 festivals and special events a year, and the nonprofit Downtown Marketing Cooperative supports them with a mix of private and public funding. One of its most successful events, Delray Affair, attracted more than 200,000 people over a weekend in early April.

“The people who were around at the time, and even now, were really involved,” said Kevin Rouse, owner of Kevro’s Art Bar. “They are donating their energy to the community. I don’t know of many communities that do that in this volume.”

The development is spreading from the center of Atlantic Avenue to the side streets. It started to the north with Pineapple Grove, an area that once had empty lots and older homes. Now it’s an extension of downtown, with new retail space and apartments.

Scott Porten, head of Delray Beach-based Porten Cos. and an early Pineapple Grove developer with partner Morgan Russell and their CityWalk, said the rents weren’t there when they started building, but they were confident they would come because of the public investment.

“If you look at Clematis and Las Olas rents, they have not seen nearly the growth we have seen,” Porten said. “The Design District is hot because of Miami’s success. We are not the byproduct of a major city. We are a unique spot, a downtown on the ocean.”

Also just north of Atlantic Avenue, a group of warehouses was spruced up to become Artists’ Alley, a home to designers.

Porten said one smart move by the city was making it expensive for retail spaces to convert to restaurants because they’d have to pay for more parking spaces. Eateries are the most popular locations in the city, but having too many would make downtown too much like a food court, he said.

City officials recently scaled back downtown density. Projects that submit new applications can only ask for 30 units per acre or four stories. The most dense building there now is Worthing Place, at 92 units an acre, and several previously approved projects like Atlantic Crossing exceed the new limit, Knight said.

“The barriers to entry downtown are very significant, so if you have an approved site for new development downtown, that is an attractive thing to have,” said Knight, who recently brokered the sale of a loft development site there for $185 a square foot.

That project, now owned by a group of Colombian investors, is in the South of Atlantic Avenue area that’s attracted a host of major projects. Among them, an iPic Theater, an Aloft hotel and 172 apartments by Miami-based Related Group.

“Atlantic Avenue has venues for every walk of life, and we just wanted to be part of that,” said Steve Patterson, president and CEO of Related’s rental and mixed-use division. “Delray Beach is one of the best beach communities in South Florida.”

Patterson said Delray Beach isn’t an easy place to build in, as it took a lot of work for the city to accept its design.

Some locals are hoping to capitalize on the development. Rouse opened an art gallery in Pineapple Grove in 1999 and relocated to 166 S.E. Second Ave. as Kevro’s Art Bar after buying the 0.2-acre property in 2006 for $460,000. Now with the Related apartments under construction next door, he’s listed his building for sale on Auction.com.

“My place was way ahead of its time when we moved down here,” Rouse said. “I’m not saying I want to get pushed out, but if some Russian guy wants to buy it, that’s the deal.”

Rouse expects many longtime local businesses will get squeezed out of Atlantic Avenue as their rents increase, starting at the recently acquired George Buildings. For years, more expensive restaurants backed by wealthy investors have been moving in, replacing mom-and-pop eateries. Knight said the next phase would be national retailers. It started with the recent opening of a two-story Urban Outfitters on Atlantic Avenue, and he said many more big names are looking for space.

Knight said local businesses would move to less-expensive properties on side streets, further expanding downtown. He expects the city to build a garage on Federal Highway to alleviate the parking challenges. More development will occur on the western part of Atlantic Avenue closer to Interstate 95, where a Fairfield Inn & Suites was recently completed and another mixed-use project is proposed, Knight said.

“Swinton Avenue used to separate the east and the west. That barrier has broken,” Knight said. “You would come before and nothing happened after dark. Now, at night, we blossom.”

 

Major new developments in Delray Beach

Atlantic Crossing: a joint venture of Ohio-based Edwards Co. and wealthy Delray Beach entrepreneur Carl DeSantis – has assembled 9 acres at Federal Highway and Atlantic Avenue. Plans call for 83,000 square feet of Class A office space, 76,000 square feet of retail, 82 condominium units and 261 apartments. The parking will be below ground, so pedestrians can traverse the property.

Sundy House: Seven acres around the historic Sundy House on Swinton Avenue are part of a mixed-use development plan. The historic home, which serves as a restaurant and event space, would be freshened up and maintained, co-owner Bill Morris said. Five smaller historic homes would be relocated to a “historic village” further south on the street and preserved, making way for a project with 110,000 square feet of retail, 135 hotel rooms, 50,000 square feet of office space, 15 condo units and 450 underground parking spaces, Morris said.

SOFA I & II: The Related Group project on Southeast Second Avenue will have 172 apartments in two buildings with 25 floor plans. Rents will range from $1,000 to $4,000.

iPic: A project with an eight-screen iPic Theater, 42,869 square feet of office space, 7,290 square feet of retail and 279 parking spaces is planned along Southeast Fourth Avenue.

Aloft: A 120-room Aloft hotel with 35 condo units is planned at 202 S.E. Fifth Ave.

The Strand: A 198-unit apartment complex approved on Southeast Second Avenue.

Uptown Delray: NCC Development Group and Monogram Residential are building 146 apartments and 4,000 square feet of retail at Federal Highway and Southeast Second Street.

Uptown Atlantic: On the south side of Atlantic Avenue between Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, Equity Enterprises USA plans 116 apartments, 49,000 square feet of retail and 47,000 square feet of office.

SofA Lofts: A group of Colombian developers led by Manuel Vergara and Felipe Vergara have approval to build 76 lofts and 2,250 square feet of retail on Southeast First Avenue. A 20,000-square-foot office/retail building was approved just up the street.

The Metropolitan: Michael Morton’s company plans to build 48 condo units and 5,059 square feet of commercial space on Southeast Third Avenue.

 

Delray Beach, by the numbers

$327 million Retail, restaurant sales in downtown development area in 2013, up 35% from 2008

1,330 Residential units planned

277,000 Square feet of Class A office space planned

125,000 Square feet of retail space planned

341 Hotel rooms planned

$70 to $100 Per-square-foot retail rents on Atlantic Avenue today, as opposed to $40 a square foot five years ago

$19.5 million How much the George Buildings on Atlantic Avenue sold for, the equivalent of $1,274 a square foot

Brian Bandell

South Florida Business Journal

Delray Beach Special Events – June 2015

June 2015:
1-30- Shark Feeding - Tues-Sat – 10:30am, Sun1:30pm- $4. Alligator Feeding –Wed & Sat 1pm. 561-274-7263, sandowayhouse.org

1-30– Pottery Classes – Mon-Sat. Cloud House Pottery, Artists Alley.  561- 862-9222, cloudhousepottery.com

1-30- Pickleball - $2.Call for times. Pompey Park Community Center. 561-243-7356. Delray Beach Community Center.  561-243-7250. dbpickle.com

1-30 – Savor Our City Culinary Private Tours – Please contact them for groups of 10 or more guests. 954-410-3177, info@SavorOurCity.com

1- 7 – Delray Beach Playhouse Presents Barefoot in the Park $30. Thurs -Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 2pm.  561-272-1281 Ext.4, delraybeachplayhouse.com

1, 8, 15, 22, 29– Empowerment Zone at the Delray Beach Library – 1pm.  delraylibrary.org

1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 – Delray Beach Playhouse Presents Hey Look Us Over! $30. 2pm & 8pm.  561-272-1281x.4, delraybeachplayhouse.com

1, 8, 15, 22, 29- Tai Chi Classes – 5:30pm. Free classes offered at Greenlands Variety Store. 561-921-4238, greenlandsstores.com

2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – Vinyasa Flow Yoga Classes – 5:30pm. Free classes offered at Greenlands Variety Store. 561-921-4238, greenlandsstores.com

3-30 – Delray Beach Lighting Baseball Games – Free.  Head on out to Miller Park to enjoy our very own College Baseball Team the Delray Beah Lightning! 561-707-9049, southfloridacollegiateleague.com

4, 5, 9 – Book Signing at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore – 7pm.  561-279-7790, murderonthebeach.com

4– First Thursday Site Tours- 10am-1pm. $5. Delray Beach Center for the Arts / Crest Theatre. 561-243-7922, DelrayArts.org

5 – Art Walk in Downtown Delray - 6pm-9pm. Stroll throughout downtown Delray. 561-243-1077, downtowndelraybeach.com

5 – Delray Beach Lightning Opening Night – 6:30 PM – Delray Beach Lightning home opener featuring baseball’s future stars along with our “Night for Nonprofits”.  Miller Park. 561-707-9049, southfloridacollegiateleague.com

5 – Park Car Wash  – 12-3p – Free, Suggested small donations to help fund camp costs for neighborhood participants. Catherine Strong Park Staff 561-243-7194, Lawsone@mydelraybeach.com

5 & 6- Arts Garage Presents Tito Puente Jr.- 8pm. Latin Jazz.  $25-$45.  561-450-6357,artsgarage.org

6 – FREE Youth Football & Cheerleading Camp - 9AM-2PM. FREE! A football and cheerleading camp for all neighboring students grades K-12.  This camp will allow all participants to learn drills and position specifics from well-known NFL/CFL athletes.  The camp is FREE to all participants and includes a t-shirt, lunch, and an autograph signing.Seacrest Soccer Complex 2505 Seacrest Boulevard, Delray Beach, FL 33444. 855-828-1010, davidclowneyfoundation.com

6 – Inflammation Workshop – 3pm. Free. Workshop on Inflammation in the Body & How to Stop It! Dr. David Bernstein at Greenlands Variety Store. 561-921-4238, greenlandsstores.com

6 – Second Annual Muttsquerade 5k-7am. $20-30. 5K Run or 1 mile Dog Walk for the Florida Humane Society at Anchor Park. exit52events.com

6 & 7 – Delray Marketplace Fitness in the Park- 10am. Free fitness class.Delray  Marketplace, 561-865-4613, DelrayMarket.com

6, 13, 20, 27- Delray Beach GreenMarket- 9am-12pm. Stroll under the Delray sun and shop local with over 60+ vendors offering everything you need! 561-276-8640, delraycra.org/greenmarket

6, 13, 20, 27- Writers Workshops at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore – 10am. $25.  561-279-7790, murderonthebeach.com

6 – Sandoway House’s Beach Walk – 9am. $8. Join Dr. Angela Witmer for a guided beach walk to learn about dunes, plants and animals found on the beach. 561-274-7263, sandowayhouse.org

7 & 21 – Morikami Sado Tea Ceremony Class – 10:15am. $55. Learn to perform traditional Japanese tea ceremony. 561-495-0233, morikami.org

7, 14, 21, 28 – Hatha Yoga Classes - 11:30am. Free classes offered at Greenlands Variety Store. 561-921-4238, greenlandsstores.com

9 – Saltwater Brewery Group Art Show-  7-9pm. Join us the second Tuesday of every month to enjoy art from local artists, food trucks, live music and raffles.  saltwaterbrewery.com

9 – Music in the Park – Bring your family and friends to Veterans Park Recreation Center from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm for a night of interactive music and hands-on art. 561-243-7350, murrell@mydelraybeach.com

9 – Toddler Tuesday at Delray Marketplace- 9:30-11:30am. Bring your child to the Delray Marketplace Amphitheater the second Tuesday of the month to enjoy craft activities, bubbles, giant legos, costumed characters and bounce houses. 561-865-4613, DelrayMarket.com

11 – Dine Out For A Cause – at Caffe Luna Rosa with celebrity Chefs Scott Porten & Fran Marincola.  Benefits the Delray Beach Public Library. delraylibrary.org

11 & 25 – Steel Drum Cruise - 6-8pm. $25 & includes a 2-hour sunset cruise with live entertainment. Delray Yacht Cruises, 561-243-0686, delraybeachcruises.com

12 – Sushi & Stroll at the Morikami – 5:30– 8:30pm. $6-$8. Summer nights in South Florida are something special, especially when they are augmented with taiko drums and a cultural backdrop that can’t be beat! 561-495-0233, morikami.org

12 & 13 Arts Garage Presents Joyce Moreno- 8pm. Brazilian Jazz.  $25-$45.  561-450-6357,artsgarage.org

13- Ride and Remember Trolley Tour -10am-12pm- $20. When you board the “Ride & Remember” Trolley Tour, the history of Delray Beach comes alive! Spady Museum. spadymuseum.com

14 – On The Ave presents Sets in the West – 6-9pm. On The Ave goes off the street! Join us at the Libby Wesley Plaza for a free concert featuring Pocket Change with a kids corner, activities & food tents!  NBA Basketball player meet & greet from 5:30-6:30. 561-278-0424, ontheavedelraybeach.com

17 – Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon & Leadership Delray Graduation – 11:45am. Welcome our New Members, hear our dynamic speaker and celebrate our 2014-2015 Leadership Delray Graduation. Abbey Delray South. $15-30. 561 278-0424×105, patty@delraybeach.com,

18- Artists Alley Open Studios -  6-9pm – Pineapple Grove Arts District between NE 3rd & 4th Streets, east of 3rd Ave, west of RR tracks. All of the Studios & Galleries in Artists Alley are open with all the artists present. artistsalleydelray.com

18-28 – Into The Woods at the Crest Theatre – $25. Call for times. Guest production presented by Entr’acte Theatrix in the Crest Theatre. 561-243-7922, DelrayArts.org

19 – Spady Museum Presents Juneteenth Celebration- 4pm -9pm. $10-25. Celebrate the end of the Civil War and Slavery in the United States with food, music and dancing, historical tours of the city, artistic expressions, special recognitions and much more. Fun for the whole family. 561-279-8883, spadymuseum.com

19- Arts Garage Presents Anibal Berraute Quartet- 8pm. Tango Fusion.  $25-$35.  561-450-6357,artsgarage.org

19 – Dad & Daughter Date Night – 6:30-10pm. $20-25. Celebrate Dad at the Delray Beach Golf club! Join us for dinner and dancing.  561-243-7222, BeardsleyD@mydelraybeach.com

19 – The Blueprint Gallery at Milagro – 6:30-8:30. Refrigerator Art Opening Reception. Complimentary lite fare and wine will be served. RSVP: nescalera@milagrocenter.org

19 – Delray Beach Lightning Baseball Parents Weekend -6:30pm. The Delray Beach Lightning will be honoring all of the parents from our teams and the Delray Beach Community. Miller Park. 561-707-9049, southfloridacollegiateleague.com

20 – Saltwater Brewery Charity Benefit – 6pm. International Surfing Day Party and Benefit for Surfrider Foundation. Live music, raffles, giveaways, food trucks, special beer releases. saltwaterbrewery.com

20 – Morikami Demonstrations of Sado: The Way of Tea - Noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. $5 with paid museum admission. 561-495-0233, morikami.org

20 – Morikami Family Fun Days – 12– 3pm. Free with paid museum admission. Learn to make an origami pinwheel. 561-495-0233, morikami.org

20 & 21- Arts Garage Presents Duffy Jackson- 8pm Sat, 7pm Sun. Jazz.  $25-$45.  561-450-6357,artsgarage.org

21 – Delray Marketplace Music Fest- 6-8pm. Time With Tom, A Tom Petty Tribute Band.  Delray Marketplace, 561-865-4613, DelrayMarket.com

24 – Spady Museum Presents Delray Speaks: A Community Conversation- 7pm – 8pm. $5. 561-279-8883, spadymuseum.com

25 – Extraordinary Art Sale – See a unique display of 6×6-inch works in a variety of media by local artists, all of which will be on sale for just $30. $5 donation; cash bar. 561-273-7922, delrayarts.org

25 – Saltwater Brewery Charity Benefit – 7pm. Benefit for Mote Marine Lab. Live music, raffles, giveaways, food trucks, special beer releases. saltwaterbrewery.com

26 – Morikami presents Japan as “The Robot Kingdom”- 7pm. $10. Advance ticket purchase required. 561-495-0233, morikami.org

27- Arts Garage Presents Flamenco Puro- 8pm. Flamenco Dance.  $25-$35.  561-450-6357,artsgarage.org

27 - Living Your Dreams (No Excuses) - 2pm. Free lecture offered at Greenlands Variety Store. 561-921-4238, greenlandsstores.com

27 – Seek in the City Delray Beach - 2pm-7pm. Want to get to know Delray Beach?  Join us for ta world-class, citywide scavenger hunt!  Come enjoy a fun-filled day with lots of adventure, refreshments, storytelling and prizes!  Learn about Delray Beach and our local businesses while raising money for Education Initiatives. Presented by the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce Charities. 561-278-0424, SeekInTheCityDelray.com

Exhibits:

1 –27 – “Touched by the Sun” “Watercolorist & Illustrator” – John Bowen. Delray Beach Public Library

1 – 30 – Delray Beach Historical Society presents Delray’s Agricultural Heritage” Exhibit - DBHS will feature rare images and stories of our rich farming history spanning 100 years. 561-274-9578, delraybeachhistory.org

1 – 30 – Surfing Museum – Thurs-Sat 11am -5pm.  $5 suggested donation, children 11 and under are free with adult supervision.  561-236-0155, surfhistoryproject.org

1-30 – Spady Museum Presents African American Neighborhoods of Old Delray Exhibit - $10. 561-279-8883, spadymuseum.com

www.visitdelraybeach.org

Fourth-Annual Delray Beach Craft Beer Fest Coming May 8

Delray Beach Center for the Arts celebrates art and culture in many forms, including the art of a well-crafted beer.

On May 8, the city will welcome the return of the Delray Beach Craft Beer Fest — formerly known as the Old School BeerFest — the Center for the Art’s signature fundraiser supporting community programs and outdoor concerts. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, Delray Beach Center for the Arts offers art through events, theater, exhibits, and classes.

A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for this year’s event, limited to 500 participants. Gates open for VIP ticket holders at 6:30 p.m. and include exclusive tasting of all beers, ciders, and wines for the first hour; a commemorative tasting mug; and access to specialty reserve tap releases.

General admission begins at 7:30 p.m.; ticket holders will be able to sample unlimited sampling of more than 100 craft brews, international beers, and ciders from national and local brewers. Big names include Abita, Anchor Steam Beer, Bell’s Brewery, Big Storm Brewing Co., Blue Moon, Brew Bus Brewing, BrooklynBrewery, Certified Cicerone, Concrete Beach Brewery, Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Darwin Brewing Co., 3 Daughters Brewing, Florida Beer Co., Golf Beer, Harpoon Brewery, Holy Waters Brewing, Islamorada Beer Co., Keybilly, Lagunitas Brewing, Leinenkugel’s, Miami Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing, Orlando Brewing, Samuel Adams, Schofferhofer, Sierra Nevada, SaltWater Brewery, SweetWater Brewing, and Wild Oak Artisan Ales.

Live music will provide the backdrop for sampling all this beer and includes a performance by South Florida reggae band Spred the Dub, which will be taking the pavilion stage at 9 p.m. The event also will include food vendors, a gaming area, photo booths, and a cash liquor bar. For those who prefer wine over beer, a winetasting tent will be onsite, courtesy of several vintners, who will serve three varietals each.

The fourth-annual Old School Beerfest will take place Friday, May 8, at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts outdoor pavilion and Old School Square park from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Advance tickets sales are available now for $35 per person general admission ($50 VIP). At the gate, tickets will sell for $40 per person ($60 VIP). To purchase tickets visit DBCraftBeerFest.org, or call 561-243-7922. Old School Square is located at 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

Existing-Home Sales Spike in March

Home sales spike in march

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2015)—Existing-home sales jumped in March to their highest annual rate in 18 months, while unsold inventory showed needed improvement, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the Midwest, all major regions experienced strong sales gains in March and are above their year-over-year sales pace.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February—the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and are now 10.4 percent above a year ago, the highest annual increase since August 2013 (10.7 percent). March’s sales increase was the largest monthly increase since December 2010 (6.2 percent).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market appears to be off to an encouraging start this spring. “After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March,” he said. “The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years.”

Total housing inventory2 at the end of March climbed 5.3 percent to 2.00 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 2.0 percent above a year ago (1.96 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.7 months in February.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in March was $212,100, which is 7.8 percent above March 2014. This marks the 37th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains and the largest since February 2014 (8.8 percent).

“The modest rise in housing supply at the end of the month despite the strong growth in sales is a welcoming sign,” adds Yun. “For sales to build upon their current pace, homeowners will increasingly need to be confident in their ability to sell their home while having enough time and choices to upgrade or downsize. More listings and new home construction are still needed to tame price growth and provide more opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the market.”

The percent share of first-time buyers was 30 percent in March, marking the third time since last March that the first-time buyer share was at or above 30 percent. First-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers last month; they were 30 percent in March 2014.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased in March for the second consecutive month, rising to 3.77 percent from 3.71 percent in February. Despite the slight increase, the monthly average is still below 4.00 percent for the fourth straight month.

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says there needs to be additional choices for borrowers looking for safe and secure mortgage products to finance their home purchase. Realtors® urge the U.S. Senate to schedule a vote for the bipartisan Mortgage Choice Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

“This legislation levels the playing field for brokerages with affiliated business agreements by eliminating the 3 percent cap on the calculations of fees and points in the Dodd-Frank Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule,” he said.

All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in March, down from 26 percent in February and down considerably from a year ago (33 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in March, unchanged from last month and down from 17 percent in March 2014. Seventy percent of investors paid cash in March.

Distressed sales4—foreclosures and short sales—were 10 percent of sales in March, down from 11 percent in February and 14 percent a year ago. Seven percent of March sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in March (17 percent in February), while short sales were also discounted 16 percent (15 percent in February).

A NAR study released earlier this week revealed that nearly a million formerly distressed owners of prime quality have become re-eligible for Federal Housing Administration or similar financing programs and may have purchased a home again, and an additional 1.5 million are likely to become eligible over the next five years. However, damaged credit and other factors will severely limit the overall number of those being able to return.

Properties typically stayed on the market for a shorter time period in March (52 days) compared to February (62 days), and are also selling slightly faster than a year ago (55 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 165 days in March, while foreclosures sold in 56 days and non-distressed homes took 51 days. Forty percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.35 million in February, and are now 10.9 percent above the 4.14 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $213,500 in March, up 8.7 percent from March 2014.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in March from 540,000 units in February, and are now 7.1 percent higher than March 2014 (560,000 units). The median existing condo price was $201,400 in March, which is 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

March existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 620,000, and are 1.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $240,500, which is 1.6 percent below a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in March, and are now 12.1 percent above March 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $163,600, up 9.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.19 million in March, and are now 11.7 percent above March 2014. The median price in the South was $187,900, up 9.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 6.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million in March, and are now 11.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $305,000, which is 8.3 percent above March 2014.

- National Association of Realtors

 

 

Latin American investors buy downtown Delray Beach condo project

SOFA Lofts Delray Beach

Downtown Delray Beach has attracted the attention of foreign investors as a Colombian-led group purchased a condominium development site.

Jim Knight, of Delray Beach-based Knight Group, represented seller SW Delray One, managed by Joseph E. White and Maya Saxena, in the $9.03 million deal for the 1.12-acre site on the east side of Southeast First Avenue just south of Southeast First Street. The price works out to $185 per square foot for the land. It was a big premium over the $1.1 million they paid for the property in 2011.

Knight said the pricing has raised the bar for what a development-ready site will trade for in downtown Delray Beach. The area already has some of the highest retail rental rates in South Florida and about $750 million in commercial and residential projects are planned there. Many of them are in the south of Atlantic Avenue (SofA) area where this project is located.

The recently sold site was approved in 2014 for 76 loft units and 2,250 square feet of retail. The buyer was SOFA I LLC, headed by Felipe Vergara and father Manuel Vergara. Felipe Vergara said his family has over 35 years of development experience in Colombia and they’ve lived in Boca Raton for 12 years. They got additional Colombian investors and a few local investors in on the deal, he said.

“We have been going to Delray for a very long time and we’ve seen the revolution that has been going on there south of Atlantic with new rental projects and with the iPic going up,” Vergara said. “People want the walkability they have in Las Olas or Miami. We have been seeing buyers turn to Delray as an alternative to those other two areas because it’s not as congested and you can walk or eat not he street and also live and work there.”

Vergara is still working on the branding and the pricing of the project. While the typical condo deposit structure in Miami is a 50 percent deposit, he said his Delray Beach project would require significantly less than that because it will cater more to domestic buyers, he said.

“We will probably do something closer to 30 percent,” Vergara said. “We are going to count on a loan from the bank to help us manage construction and the cash flow.”

He hopes to break ground in late 2015.

 

  Senior Reporter- South Florida Business Journal

Trolleys to replace shuttle buses in downtown Delray Beach

Delray Beach is taking a hint from one of San Francisco’s legendary landmarks and adding trolleys in June to the downtown scene.

The city, in partnership with the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, has purchased three new trolley-style vehicles to be used within the Downtown Roundabout system, replacing the existing shuttle buses.

An official start date for the trolleys has not been determined.

The new trolleys will continue to provide free transportation between the Delray Beach Tri-Rail station and the beach via Atlantic Avenue, with stops along the way.

The route, which will operate daily from 6:15 a.m. to 11 p.m., focuses on transporting train travelers to work or play in Delray.

“We’re pretty much meeting every train out there except one or two in the early morning,” said Scott Aronson, the city’s parking management specialist. Aronson said the city plans to eliminate the current route that transports riders north and south along A1A.

The trolleys were purchased with a $300,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, which requires Tri-Rail service, and a $550,000 contribution from the Delray Beach CRA.

City commissioners approved the grants at their May 21 meeting.

When the Downtown Roundabout was launched in 2009, the city planned to purchase trolley vehicles but could not afford them. Aronson said an initial bid for trolleys was $96 an hour, which made the $38.50-per-hour shuttle bus option more appealing at the time.

“Having actual trolley vehicles was the initial goal, but it was cost-prohibitive,” said Elizabeth Borrows, the CRA’s marketing and grants manager. “Now we’ve had the chance to purchase the vehicles, which brings down the operating costs.”

The program boasts solid ridership; according to the data, the shuttle bus service transported 156,000 riders in 2012, and from January to March of this year, 78,800 riders took the buses.

“In my opinion, if you need a ride, you need a ride. But we could see an increase [in ridership] due to the unique character of the trolleys,” Aronson said.

The red and blue traditional-style trolleys have large windows, a shift from the smaller buses reminiscent of airport shuttles.

“The new vehicles are actual trolleys,” Borrows said. “While it’s been a successful program [with the buses], we’re excited because they will be so much more attractive and inviting.”

The buses were wrapped in advertising, allowing riders to see outside but pedestrians unable to see inside. Borrows said the buses’ appearance may have made them seem uninviting.

“If you didn’t know to look for [the shuttle bus], it could be mistaken as another company,” she said. “If there are tourists and visitors who happen upon the trolley, it’ll be a happy surprise. Having a trolley that is highly visible is going to go a long way for visitors.”

The much awaited face lift of Federal Highway in Delray Beach is about to begin.

The much awaited face lift of Federal Highway in Delray
Beach
is about to begin.

Almost 11 years after the project was conceived, crews are expected to begin
improvements Monday: landscaped medians, decorative street lighting and paver
sidewalks along northbound and southbound U.S. 1 from George Bush Boulevard to
Southeast 10th Street — all to create a friendlier pedestrian environment and
reduce the speed of cars heading downtown.

In addition to giving the stretch of highway a new look, the project will
narrow the street from three to two lanes in each direction, and will convert
Southeast First Street into a two-way street from Swinton Avenue to Federal
Highway.

“One of the main goals was to reduce speeds on Federal Highway, which
will result in fewer crashes — and that’s our number one objective,” said
Jim Smith, who is chairman of Safety As Floridians Expect, a group that
advocates for pedestrians and bicyclists. “Federal Highway is two lanes
throughout Boca
Raton
and all the way up to West Palm Beach. We were the only stretch that
had three lanes and the other segments operate successfully.”

The project was conceived in 2002 as part of the downtown master plan. In
March 2008, city officials closed off one lane of southbound and northbound
U.S. 1, between Southeast 10th Street and George Bush Boulevard, to install
temporary barriers.

City officials then studied the effect of the narrower lanes on accident
rates, new signal-timing plans for on-peak and off-season traffic and driving
speeds.

According to the data, drivers along that stretch of U.S. 1 slowed by about
6 miles per hour. Crashes on that stretch were reduced by 50 percent, and
crashes at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue were reduced by 75 percent.

“There definitely have been fewer crashes,” Smith said.
“There has been remarkable improvement.”

Part of why the nearly $14 million project has taken so long is money. The
project was put on hold in 2011 while the city sought a loan from the Florida
Department of Transportation’s State Infrastructure Bank to fund a gap in the
cost of the project.

However, last year the Delray
Beach
Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to pick up the rest of the tab.
The CRA board agreed to provide $3.6 million for construction of the project,
but over the years it also has funded the design and the temporary poles that
narrowed the street for a trial period, said CRA Assistant Executive Director
Jeff Costello.

The rest of the money for the project came from a variety of sources, said
Project Manager Tim Tack. Developers contributed about $178,000, while $7.2
million came from federal and state grants. The city contributed about $1.7
million.

Construction crews have about 24 months to complete the project, Tack said.

“I guess it will be inconvenient while the work is going on, but I’m
sure it will be nice in the end,” said Cecilia Raymond, who lives in
nearby Osceola Park. “I walk to the bus down here every day. Wider sidewalks
could be a great thing for those of us who walk to work. It will be
prettier.”

(taken from Sun Sentinel.com)

The 51st Delray Affair Is Coming To Town!!

In 2013, the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce celebrates the 51st year of the Delray Affair. Nicknamed the “Greatest Show under the Sun”, the Delray Affair is the largest arts & craft festival in the Southeast United States. The event takes place along the palm tree lined downtown streets of Delray Beach and stretches 12 city blocks from the Intracoastal to NW 2nd Avenue and two city parks. The Delray Affair has received numerous awards for its ‘eclectic’ mixture of fine art, great crafts and funky products from around the world. Last year, artists and crafters from 30 states and twelve countries exhibited at the Delray Affair.

This year the event takes place April 5-7, 2013 (a bit earlier in the season than usual) and we expect crowds to be even larger (if that’s possible) as more snowbirds will still be flocking to the area! Come join us and stroll the sundrenched streets of our Village By The Sea and enjoy our Delray Affair!