Midtown Delray Beach lining up eateries, bars for historic complex
admin / September 24, 2018
The western edge of downtown Delray Beach is starting to come alive with new restaurants, bars and stores — and more are on the way during the next two years.
Midtown Delray Beach, the collection of eight historic cottages and land at the southwest corner of Atlantic and Swinton avenues, has started pre-leasing its retail space.
Although Midtown’s construction won’t start until spring of next year, with plans to complete the project by October 2020, several tenants already are in talks to come to the project, said Steven Michael, co-founder of Hudson Holdings, which owns the project.
Among the tenants in the works is Bounce Sporting Club, a high-end sports bar and restaurant with locations in New York and Chicago; and Blue Martini, the sexy bar and restaurant now at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.
Meanwhile, across the street on the east side of Swinton Avenue, that block is getting busy, too.
Tin Roof, a Nashville-based bar and restaurant chain centered around live music, has opened its doors at 8. E. Atlantic Ave, formerly home to Smoke BBQ restaurant. And Louie Bossi Italian Ristorante, which is going into the space at 32 E. Atlantic Ave, formerly occupied by 32 East restaurant, is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.
Also opening soon in that same block: A Haagen-Dazs ice cream store; and Burgerim, a popular California-based burger chain that features small, custom gourmet burgers that can be made with a variety of toppings and sauces.
It’s the next step in pushing the action of sizzling downtown Delray Beach west from the cluster of restaurants, bars and shops located farther east.
The western growth all starts with bringing life to the tired and mostly vacant historic district along Swinton Avenue, on the southwest corner of Swinton and Atlantic avenues.
The cluster of historic homes as well as the Sundy House restaurant, inn and gardens, once were owned by real estate investor Tom Worrell.
In 2014, Hudson Holdings paid $17.15 million for the properties, then commenced a plan to redo the corridor, part of the Old School Square Historic District. After six revisions and at times vehement protest from historic preservationists, the latest plan was approved by city officials in May.
Hudson Holdings plans to rehabilitate Delray Beach’s oldest buildings along Swinton Avenue south of Atlantic Avenue, then fill them with interesting retail tenants.
Pre-leasing is off to a strong start, said Joseph Scarfone, owner of One Investment Group in Delray Beach.
Among the tenants signing on is Subculture Coffee, Scarfone said.
The popular coffee shop, now in a funky blue-and-green building along Atlantic Avenue, will move to the historic Cathcart House, built in 1903 in the French Colonial Revival style.
The deal is a long time coming: ”“It’s been my dream to have a coffee shop in an old historic house,” Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayosaid last year when he first leased space at 20 W. Atlantic Ave.
Along with preserving the old will be building the new.
Hudson Holdings will construct an underground parking garage, as well as build two- and-three story complexes along Atlantic Avenue and in other parts of the property.
A signature three-story building facing Atlantic Avenue will feature retail on the ground floor and offices on the second and third floors.
Residences also will be built on the property, which stretches south to 1st Avenue, but Michael said he’s still weighing whether to build for-sale condominiums or rental apartments.
And in an interesting twist, Midtown Delray Beach will also feature The Learning Experience, a pre-school/day care headquartered in Boca Raton. Hudson Holdings will build a 12,000-square-foot building for the preschool, which will also feature 5,000 square feet of outdoor space and be able to accommodate 175 children, Scarfone said.
The idea is to create a mix of tenants to keep Midtown busy both during the day and at night, said Griffin Wallaceof One Investment Group.
“I want to create some synergy, so if you come into Midtown Delray Beach, you don’t have to leave,” Scarfone added.
Some 400 office workers who will fill Midtown’s office space will be able to drop their children off at The Learning Experience. Later, they can go downstairs and have lunch or a cup of coffee and meet with clients, Scarfone said. They also can do work in a planned interior courtyard, which will have Wi-Fi and soft music, Wallace said.
Or parents and children can linger The Baked Bear, a cookie and ice cream shop opening its first Florida location at Midtown, in a building set to be constructed next to The Learning Experience.
Also coming to Midtown are a Poke restaurant, a pediatric dentist and a new tea house and spice shop, Scarfone said.
Tin Roof owner Bob Franklin welcomes the action on this western edge of the downtown. When he opened his music venue this past weekend, the place was hopping. “We received a lot of support from neighbors, the business community and local residents,” Franklin said.
Tin Roof also serves food, which Franklin calls “Southern inspired, better-than-bar food.” Franklin said the food is nearly all made from scratch.
Pepe Sanchez, who is opening the Haagen-Dazs franchise location next to Tin Roof with his wife, Solange Izurieta, said downtown Delray Beach is embarking on the next wave of development. As proof, he points to his block, which is seeing four new businesses opening.
“If you close your eyes and open them in two years, it’s going to be completely different,” Sanchez said of downtown Delray Beach.
Alexandra Clough writes about real estate, law and the economy.