Meet the developers giving old-school Boca Raton a luxury facelift,” spotlights the major transition happening in Boca Raton right now with all the new construction — restaurants, hotels, etc. and mentions Prakas & Co. The article quotes Tom Prakas giving insight into the booming market and more!
“We have been trying for 25 years to shake the joke on ‘Seinfeld’ that we are a retirement community,” sighed Scott Singer, the mayor of Boca Raton. “In the city limits I don’t think we even have a retirement community!’’
Boca Raton has, in fact, transitioned into a younger, more vibrant area, with a median age of 48, according to census records.
Major companies have set up shop. The Brightline train opened a Boca station this year that whisks passengers to Miami in 40 minutes and West Palm Beach in 25 minutes. The Mandarin Oriental will open the city’s first new ultra-luxe hotel in almost 100 years.
“I look at Boca as the pearl in the oyster,’’ said Mitchell Robbins, who owns the popular Boca restaurant Farmer’s Table, and is partnering with developer Malcolm Butters on a 120,000-square-foot Class A office building. “Miami and West Palm are now two of the strongest office markets, with tremendous growth and rents up to $150 per foot, while we see office buildings in New York 50% to 60% empty. Boca hadn’t had a new Class A office project in 20 years. Now, major companies from the Northeast are starting to move to Boca, so the surge is inevitable.’’
Robbins’ new building, along with his Chinese restaurant and lounge called Red Pine, will be unveiled in an area near Town Center, now being referred to as “Midtown.’’ Gallagher’s Steakhouse from New York, Meat Market from Miami, and Fiolina Pasta, an offshoot of DC Michelin-starred restaurant Sfoglina, are all moving in along with a slew of youth-oriented eateries including El Camino and Pubbelly Sushi. The district will also have retail shops and over 800 residential units.
“The area is exploding and we are inundated with restaurants trying to find a Boca location,’’ said Tom Prakas, president of the real estate company Prakas & Co.
Nine p.m. was always referred to as “Boca midnight,” but those hours are expanding with all the new arrivals. “We are keeping our kitchen open until 1 a.m.,’’ said Francis Lake, VP of operations for Modern Restaurant Group, which owns El Camino.
The Renaissance Hotel in Midtown will offer a full-on South Beach experience with DJs and a swim-up bar.
Even longtime institutions like Boca’s upscale fitness club Life Time is feeling the increased pulse. “Our membership is up 33% from last January,’’ said the club’s GM Donna Wright-Everhart.
Like the rest of Florida, price tags on homes have gone up with the demand.
“Older homes are being torn town and replaced by mega-mansions,’’ said Ben Schachter, president of Signature Real Estate. “Most of the buyers are New Yorkers in finance.’’
For those not ready to make the move, there is big news on the hotel front.
Iconic Boca Raton Resort & Club has undergone major changes after it was purchased by Michael Dell and rebranded simply the Boca Raton.
“Ninety-five percent of new members are 40 to 50,” said Daniel Hostettler, the resort’s president and CEO. The resort also brought in Major Food Group (Carbone, Lobster Club) to open a slew of elevated restaurants, and unveiled Flybridge exclusively for adult members and yacht club guests, where a tasting dinner runs $145.
Meanwhile, the Mandarin Oriental will open later this year with a 154-room hotel and 85 condos, ranging from $4 million to $27 million.
It will have an athletic club, a spa, a rooftop restaurant, a private club and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. The ground floor has 65,000 square feet of luxury retail.
“If you wanted luxury shopping before, you went to Palm Beach or Bal Harbour,” said David Warne, COO of Penn-Florida, the Mandarin’s developer. “Now, with so many people moving here, it is particularly timely.’’