Upscale Shopping Center Plan Seen As Key To Major Revamp In Delray Beach

Jul 10, 2013 No Comments by

Delray PlaceDelray Beach’s southern entrance could soon become a grand gateway, reflecting the wishes of a sophisticated group of residents who dream of converting an impersonal patch on South Federal Highway into the city’s next shopping and dining destination.

The developers of Delray Place, an upscale shopping center proposed for the southeast corner of Linton Boulevard and Federal Highway, believe they have what residents want. They plan to provide the digs for the shops and the restaurants.

Throw in the rumor of another Trader Joe’s in the area, and the corner shops may become the corner shoppes.

“We’re starting to see upscale restaurants and this will be a way for nearby residents to not have to go to Atlantic Avenue or Boca Raton all the time, to keep Delray dollars in Delray,” said Kelli Freeman, a Realtor and president of the Tropic Isle Civic Association.

The question on everyone’s mind is whether Trader Joe’s will be the “luxury grocer” to anchor the project.

Asked whether Trader Joe’s would open a second location so close to the recently announced store in Boca Raton, Joe Carosella, president of the Retail Property Group, said it wouldn’t be unusual.

“These tenants are extremely sophisticated and regularly have locations in other adjacent cities, especially when a corridor is such a defined area demographically with other retailers,” Carosella said. “These tenants are coming into an area that’s already snowballing.”

If approved, Delray Place will open its doors in July 2014 with 110,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, all wrapped around a gourmet grocer. But for residents and business owners of the area, the project is as much about spurring the renaissance of the South Federal Highway corridor as it is about which tenants will occupy the space.

A rebirth of sorts is already underway, says Freeman.

Across the street, at the Delray Plaza shopping center, a Fresh Market is under construction. Ulta Beauty, a cosmetic products retailer, opened across the street next to a Ross and a Marshall’s. Soon an L.A. Fitness also will occupy space next door. The idea is for Delray Place to complete the creation of a retail hub, Carosella said.

“We provide projects that are catalysts for areas,” Carosella said, pointing to the redevelopment of Bal Harbour Square in Fort Lauderdale, which now offers stores such as Michael’s and Ulta Beauty. “Once our product is up, others of high quality usually follow in the properties surrounding.”

Delray Place had created a buzz even before anyone had seen renderings of the project, and it’s more than just the allure of a possible Trader Joe’s.

“I think is going to be a beautiful southern gateway to our city,” said Christina Morrison, a former acting city commissioner and nearby resident. “We are the next block as people come out of Boca into Delray. That’s why we are working on this area so hard.”

Morrison said ideally the city would establish an overlay district that describes exactly what type of businesses can open in the area.

When asked about a proposed flea market for the old Ralph Buick dealership site, she said: “That’s exactly what we don’t want.”

Meanwhile, most of the residents who opposed Delray Place have since changed their minds. Like many in south Palm Beach County, they’re excited about the prospect of a Trader Joe’s coming to their neighborhood.

Freeman said there’s a list of about 20 requirements the Delray Place developer agreed to after meeting repeatedly with residents. The modern architecture, coupled with lush landscaping and the promise of upscale dining options plus a gourmet grocer has won supporters.

“Even those who have opposed it would tell you the developer has made a tremendous effort to address everyone’s concerns,” Freeman said.


Source:  Sun-Sentinel

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Industry News, NA, Palm Beach County Retail, Retail
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