Lockers for 700: Life Time fitness gears up for July opening

REI Co-op also to open at Downtown Palm Beach Gardens this year even as construction tears up shopping center’s north end.

It’s still more than two months before the Life Time fitness center opens at Downtown Palm Beach Gardens but residents can still play a game of pickleball, check out the stationary bikes or even practice yoga.

The three-story center on the north end of Downtown has been under construction since 2019 but, in anticipation of its July opening, the Minnesota-based fitness giant has opened a preview center in the former west elm store and is offering free Wednesday morning classes.

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Back to the drawing board: Initial plans for raceway warehouses ‘dead’

When the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission denied a series of variances to allow Portman Industrial to build warehouses at Palm Beach International Raceway, they blocked the developer from moving on to the next step.

For the proposed builders of 2.1 million square feet of warehouse space on the site of Palm Beach International Raceway, it’s back to the drawing board.

Portman Industrial has asked to postpone its April 28 hearing before the Palm Beach County Commission for five months, until Sept. 22. 

And Portman will have to redraw its plans, says one seasoned land-use lawyer who watched April 7 as the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the warehouse builder’s requests for several variances.

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Inside the artists’ studio: Creativity, diversity thrive at Legacy Place

Many of the artists grew up in Palm Beach County, some recently moved here; some love landscapes, others portraits. Art binds them together. Open house Saturday night.

There’s the Army sniper who offers a poem with every painting. A Cuban immigrant who paints English countrysides. A 23-year-old who quit her job at Whole Foods to commit full-time to art. A crime victim coordinator with the State Attorney’s Office who overcomes shyness to paint insightful portraits.

Tucked between Five Guys and Best Buy in a Palm Beach Gardens shopping center, 20 artists carve out creative niches in a onetime-luxury-spa-turned-artist collaborative. 

“We are a story, that’s for sure,” recent Georgia transplant Pamela Macatee said. “We’re like 20 different stories all together. Nobody’s styles are the same. But we have a common language.”

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Panel taps brakes on Palm Beach racetrack-warehouse conversion

Race fans persuade Zoning Commission loss of racing at PBIR outweighs benefits of warehousing.

Racing fans won the first lap Thursday in a much longer race when the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to reject plans for a warehouse complex that would replace their beloved Palm Beach International Raceway.

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Last days at Palm Beach International Raceway: ‘Like you’re losing a family member’

They drive for hours to race at Palm Beach County’s lone racetrack: Amateurs with muscle cars, hobbyists with pricey foreign models, seasoned drivers with off-road hot rods. Now a plan for warehouses threatens the place they love.

Marcus Falden left his digital marketing job south of Miami at 11:30 on a recent Friday morning to get to the Palm Beach International Raceway before it opened at 5 p.m. 

He’s looking forward to 11 — maybe 12, but certainly not 13 — seconds of joy, as he guns his Infiniti Q50S to 119 mph for a quarter-mile straightaway. 

Marcus Falden and his Infiniti Q50S.

As soon as it’s over, he’ll line up to do it again. If the night goes right, he’ll get in three runs before the busy track closes at 11 p.m.

He and his buddy, Miguel Cruz, also from the Kendall area, drove more than 100 miles March 25 to place their cars among the first ones lined up for the drag strip at PBIR, the former Moroso Motorsports Park on Beeline Highway west of Jupiter. 

BMW
Miguel Cruz in his BMW Z4. (Joel Engelhardt photo)

“It’s hard to explain,” Cruz said. “You’re sitting in your car, and the lights start flashing (to signal the start) and your heart starts going 100 mph. It happens so fast.”

But it won’t be happening much longer.

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County official slams $200 million affordable housing plan

But County Commission allows proposals for a $200 million affordable housing bond and a $150 million water resources bond to move to the next stage.

After hearing a non-profit group’s presentation Tuesday to urge the Palm Beach County Commission to borrow $200 million to build affordable housing, the county’s director of housing and economic development took the floor. 

Jonathan Brown, a participant in crafting the Housing Leadership Council’s 28-page report recommending a bond issue, began to pick it apart, point by point, in comments to his boss’ bosses, the county commission. His words drew dismay from the report’s champion, County Commissioner Mack Bernard.

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$350 million at stake: County to consider borrowing for affordable housing, the environment

Are residents willing to put up $200 million to correct the housing imbalance? Would they support $150 million for water resources? County commissioners to discuss Tuesday.

Palm Beach County has never been reluctant to spend large sums of taxpayer money to tackle huge issues. 

Voters approved $100 million bonds twice in the 1990s, once to buy environmentally sensitive land and a second time to buy south county farmland. 

Without voter approval, county commissioners shelled out $269 million in 2006 to land The Scripps Research Institute and $87 million more to bring Germany’s Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience to Jupiter. 

But borrowing $350 million in one fell swoop? That’s what commissioners will contemplate at a 9:30 a.m. March 29 workshop.

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Judge puts brakes on Gardens mobility fee

Judge Gillman grants injunction requiring city to turn over millions from developer payments; appeal possible and full trial awaits.

Palm Beach Gardens’ effort to pay for growth through a mobility fee suffered a setback Thursday when a Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge ruled that the city’s approach violated state law. 

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Pivot point: Vast change in store for north county medical care

Proposals for new hospitals face fewer hurdles, promise to reshape local health-care delivery.

Second of two parts

It’s called “cream-skimming” and it’s alive and well in north county.

The “cream” is the bumper crop of well-off, fully insured retirees who call north county home.

The “skimming” is how the high-end medical practices and hospitals drawn to the area are grabbing their piece of the lucrative pie.

The result is a potential tipping point in medical care, pressuring traditional hospitals to fend off competition for physicians, nurses and, most of all, patients. 

The pieces are not in place yet but there’s a scramble for available land, physician groups and care centers that will shape north county’s medical delivery system for decades.

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Too many beds? Scaled-back Alton hospital slammed

No need for another hospital in north county, former Jupiter Medical Center exec John Couris says, as Alton hospital developer cuts proposal to 300 beds.

First of two parts

Seeking to win over neighbors opposed to a full-service hospital off Donald Ross Road in Alton, health-care giant Universal Health Services shaved its original plan for 450 beds to 300 and moved a proposed helipad farther from neighbors.

While opponents living in million-dollar Alton homes south of the hospital won’t publicly comment on the changes as negotiations with UHS are ongoing, questions still surround the need for a third full-service hospital in north county. 

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