By Brian Bandell – Senior Reporter,
South Florida Business Journal;
Eastwind Development Group has taken over and redesigned the first major apartment project planned in the Warehouse District of West Palm Beach. Located on the outskirts of downtown, the collection of warehouses along Clare Avenue and Elizabeth Avenue is transitioning from industrial use to dining and entertainment.
In December, a group of six buildings housing a food hall, a brewery, retail and co-working space in the district sold for $18.5 million.
John “Jack” F. Weir, president of Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development, said he likes what’s going on in the West Palm Beach Warehouse District, as it reminds him of the Wynwood Arts District in Miami and 12 South near Nashville. When an opportunity became available in the neighborhood, he jumped on it.
“The missing piece has really been residential in this area,” Weir said.; Developers Peter Cummings and Julie F. Cummings had the 5.53-acre site at 1630, 1710, 1940 and 1980 Clare Ave. under contract from Murphy Construction Co. and Jamco Inc.
The property currently has 55,519 square feet of warehouses. The Cummings’ successfully rezoned the property for apartments with ground-floor retail in 2018. It had a cube block design. A broker approached Eastwind Development in fall 2018 and said the Cummings wanted to sell their contract on the property, Weir said. Eastwind Development acquired the deal from them for enough money to cover the Cummings expenses, plus a bit extra, Weir said.
Now, Eastwind Development has filed an amended site plan for the project with a new design and the same density, called District Flats. The project would have 178 apartments and 2,700 square feet of commercial space in buildings of three and four stories.
A parking garage would be placed in between the two buildings. The Cummings’ design had apartments surrounding the garage, but Weir said it was more economically feasible to have mesh walls around the garage so it had better ventilation.
“We wanted something that had a little bit of restored warehouse look but was also a little more finished,” Weir said.
The developer pledged to make 36 of the apartments there workforce housing, with rents set for households earning no more than 140 percent of median income. Units would range from 550 to 1,000 square feet. There would be 26 studios, 86 units with one bedroom, 18 units with one bedroom and a den, and 48 units with two bedrooms.
The amenities would include an interior pool courtyard with cabanas, a garden courtyard, a dog park and a public art park on the south side of the project.; As for the commercial space, Weir would like to see a coffee roasting company there. There would also be 1,000 square feet of outdoor seating.
District Flats was designed by MSA Architects.
Weir expects his new site plan to go before the city Planning Commission in February and the City Commission in March. He hopes to break ground this summer.
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