Versace Makes Palm Beach Debut: A Glamorous Entry to Worth Avenue

Versace has unveiled its first-ever store in Palm Beach, marking a significant milestone in the brand’s 45-year legacy. The Italian luxury fashion house opened its doors to a 2,790-square-foot store at 243 Worth Ave. in November, introducing a touch of opulence to the prestigious Palm Beach retail scene. Positioned among other luxury businesses and boutiques on Worth Avenue, Versace’s debut adds an extra layer of glamour to this iconic shopping destination.

Occupying an 8,523-square-foot retail property constructed in 1925, Versace has made its home in a space that exudes vintage charm. The property has a rich history — acquired for $7.1 million in December 1997, it has undergone a transformation from its previous owner, who purchased it for $9.95 million in January 1989.

Versace’s expansion into Palm Beach is reflective of its global presence, boasting 160 retail stores worldwide. Additionally, Versace products are distributed to more than 200 boutiques and 1,500 wholesalers across the globe. The brand’s journey, initiated by fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1978, saw a significant chapter in February 2014 when the New York-based Blackstone Group acquired a 20% stake in the Versace Group. Subsequently, Michael Kors Limited acquired the entire company for approximately $2.12 billion four years later. Today, Versace stands as part of Capri Holdings Limited, a prominent fashion house that includes Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo.

Versace’s entry into Palm Beach signifies not just the brand’s dedication to broadening its presence but also underscores the appeal of Worth Avenue as a sought-after destination for upscale retail. In Palm Beach, where retail rents carry a premium, the town’s average listed rent was notably higher compared to the broader Palm Beach County, emphasizing the exclusivity and desirability associated with this upscale locale.

While Palm Beach County enjoys its status as a luxury retail hub, Versace’s arrival on Worth Avenue adds a new layer of sophistication to an already glamorous destination. As the iconic brand continues to shape the fashion landscape, its Palm Beach debut is sure to become a cornerstone in the evolving narrative of luxury and style in South Florida.

Scaling New Heights: Rock Climbing Gym Proposed for West Little River, Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County may soon witness the rise of a thrilling vertical adventure as a developer unveils plans for a rock climbing gym in the West Little River neighborhood. MC NW 7th Ave LLC, led by David Alvarez of Marathon Capital RE in New York, has submitted a pre-application for a 1.67-acre site at 8800 NW 7th Ave./U.S. 441, just north of the Little River.

The property, currently home to a truck sales lot, is under contract from Engeocom 8800 LLC, a Miami-based entity. Although previously approved for a car wash, no construction materialized, paving the way for a bold new vision – a state-of-the-art rock climbing gym.

The proposed plans outline a 22,785-square-foot building dedicated to the rock climbing experience, accompanied by a 4,000-square-foot mezzanine level. To accommodate enthusiasts and visitors, 83 parking spaces will surround the facility. The architectural blueprint, skillfully crafted by Arco/Murray Design Build in Fort Lauderdale, promises an exciting addition to the county’s recreational landscape.

While the pre-application didn’t feature visual renderings, the prospect of a rock climbing gym adds an adventurous dimension to Miami-Dade’s offerings. The project is expected to enrich the West Little River neighborhood and cater to the growing demand for alternative fitness and recreational activities.

Javier F. Avino, the Miami-based attorney representing the developer in the application, has yet to comment on the project, leaving room for anticipation and speculation among local residents.

Pre-applications, like the one filed by MC NW 7th Ave LLC, serve as a crucial step in the development process, allowing developers to gather feedback from county officials before formalizing their proposals. This collaborative approach ensures that the project aligns with local regulations and community interests.

Currently, Miami-Dade County has limited options for rock climbing enthusiasts, with Edge Rock Gym in Kendall and Morphe Life Health & Fitness near Coral Gables being the primary destinations. However, the proposed gym in West Little River joins Central Rock Gym in Wynwood, which began its application process in 2021, promising an expanded network of indoor rock climbing facilities in the area.

As the project advances, it not only introduces a thrilling recreational outlet for adventure seekers but also contributes to the diverse and dynamic landscape of Miami-Dade County. The rock climbing gym is poised to become a hub for fitness enthusiasts, fostering a sense of community and providing a unique space for individuals to challenge their physical limits.

As we eagerly await further details and visual insights into this exciting venture, the prospect of scaling new heights in West Little River has captured the imagination of those ready to embrace a novel dimension of fitness and leisure in the heart of Miami-Dade County.

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Avenir Update: Palm Beach Gardens Approves Hospital, Offices, and Model Homes

In a significant stride towards enhancing the community landscape, Palm Beach Gardens City Council has given its nod to pivotal developments within the expansive Avenir planned community. The unanimous approval on December 6th signals the green light for a micro-hospital, medical office buildings, and a charming array of model homes in this mammoth 4,750-acre expanse of land – near where two of Cohen Commercial Realty’s listings are located. The agency’s own Chris McCarthy, Austin Alves, Rich Mitukiewicz, and Will Soled are responsible for two of these listings in Palm Beach Gardens.

Avenir, formerly a ranch, represents the last undeveloped area of its kind in Palm Beach Gardens. The recent go-ahead from the city council marks a milestone in the evolution of this vibrant community.

Micro-Hospital and Health Park:

The approved micro-hospital, a collaborative effort between Jupiter Medical Center and UF Health, is poised to cater to around 10,000 residents expected to inhabit the 3,900 homes under construction. Designated as a micro-hospital due to its smaller bed capacity, it stands as a cornerstone within the Town Center, set to become Avenir’s first place of employment with an initial workforce of approximately 50 individuals.

Avenir Health Park, spanning 13 acres, will house the micro-hospital on the western side and two medical office buildings on the eastern side. The medical office buildings, one exceeding 46,000 square feet and three stories high, and the other surpassing 25,000 square feet and two stories high, will contribute to the comprehensive healthcare ecosystem envisioned for the community.

The hospital, initially equipped with 20 beds in nine patient rooms, plans to expand its capacity with an additional nine beds over time. A well-planned road connecting Northlake Boulevard and Avenir Drive will provide convenient access to the health park, complemented by thoughtfully designed sidewalks, pathways, and ample landscaping.

Parking solutions are also part of the development, with three covered parking structures accommodating 412 regular parking spots and 10 spots featuring electric car charging stations.

Council member Marcie Tinsley raised concerns about on-site security, to which the project’s spokesperson assured that a key-card system will manage building access. The council unanimously praised and approved the project, recognizing its strategic significance and positive impact on healthcare accessibility in the region.

Model Homes and Anti-Monotony Standards:

In addition to the healthcare developments, the city council greenlit the construction of 10 model homes in a 51-acre neighborhood on Avenir’s western side. Avenir aims to break away from the conventional with a focus on “anti-monotony standards,” steering clear of cookie-cutter housing styles.

The model homes, following three distinct design themes – “tropical modern,” “Mediterranean,” and “Florida vernacular,” vary in size from a 1,668-square-foot model to a spacious 2,800-square-foot dwelling. Each lot measures 65 feet wide and 130 feet deep, providing a diverse range of options for prospective homeowners.

Lush landscaping, featuring wax myrtle, Japanese fern, Southern magnolia, and palm trees, will enhance the aesthetic appeal of what is dubbed “model row,” where these 10 homes will be located.

Mayor Chelsea Reed expressed enthusiasm for the anti-monotony approach, emphasizing its importance in fostering a diverse and visually appealing community. The unanimous approval from the council signifies collective support for the project’s innovative design concepts.

Avenir’s Ongoing Development:

Avenir’s momentum extends beyond these recent approvals. Currently, nine residential neighborhoods are under construction, with over 700 home permits and certificates of occupancy already issued. A major road infrastructure project to widen Northlake Boulevard is underway, aiming to enhance connectivity in the area.

Future projects within Avenir include a new fire station, a town center featuring a supermarket, drive-thru pharmacy, restaurants, and townhomes, an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Justin Thomas, a clubhouse with various amenities, up to 1 million square feet of office space, and an elementary charter school operated by Somerset Academy.

As Avenir continues to evolve, these developments promise a dynamic and well-rounded community that embraces innovation, diverse living spaces, and comprehensive healthcare services. The city of Palm Beach Gardens stands witness to the transformation of the Avenir planned community into a thriving and inclusive haven for residents.

Savoring the Future: Fondu Hospitality Unveils New Mediterranean Dining in Jupiter

In the heart of Jupiter, a culinary masterpiece is in the making as Fondu Hospitality, led by seasoned restaurateur Steven Fondu, gears up to launch its newest venture – Ara. Set to open its doors early next year, Ara promises to be a gastronomic haven with a touch of the Mediterranean, featuring a kitchen commanded by none other than French Laundry alum Kayla Casale.

Nestled at 1406 Cypress Drive, the 3,800-square-foot restaurant is more than a space; it’s a canvas where culinary excellence meets thoughtful design. Boasting seating for 125 people, a chef’s table, and a well-appointed bar, Ara is poised to become a culinary destination that fuses exquisite flavors with a captivating ambiance.

Behind the artistry of Ara’s interiors is the talent of Anna Woodman Interior Design, a Jupiter-based firm renowned for its prowess in shaping hospitality spaces. The melding of aesthetics and functionality promises an immersive dining experience that goes beyond the palate.

What adds a unique flavor to this endeavor is the backstory of the property itself. The restaurant space, acquired for $1.9 million in August, found a new owner in retired Major League Baseball pro Frank Seminara. His journey from the baseball field to Morgan Stanley and now to the world of culinary investments echoes the diverse narratives converging in Palm Beach County.

For Steven Fondu, Ara marks his debut as a restaurant owner. Having previously served as the assistant general manager at Stage Kitchen & Bar in Palm Beach Gardens, Fondu brings a wealth of experience and a passion for culinary excellence to the forefront. His journey from bartender to restaurant owner reflects a dedication to the craft that goes beyond the expected.

At the helm of Ara’s kitchen is Kayla Casale, a distinguished alum of the renowned French Laundry and a culinary artist whose previous experiences include establishments like Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. Casale’s stint at the French Laundry during the height of pandemic restrictions adds a layer of culinary resilience to Ara, promising patrons an extraordinary dining experience.

Ara is more than a restaurant; it symbolizes the dynamic culinary landscape that Palm Beach County is fast becoming. With luminaries like Thomas Keller also making their mark on the county, the gastronomic transformation fueled by the influx of Northeasterners and Californians continues to unfold.

As Ara prepares to enchant taste buds and elevate dining experiences, it stands as a testament to the evolving culinary scene in Jupiter and the broader canvas of Palm Beach County. The anticipation for this Mediterranean gem is palpable, and Ara’s arrival promises to be a delectable chapter in the gastronomic journey of South Florida.

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