EXCLUSIVE: Cheesecake Factory to be torn down at Downtown Gardens

Plan calls for apartment building, hotel to replace Cheesecake Factory, Texas de Brazil at Shopcore’s Downtown Palm Beach Gardens site.

The continuing evolution of Palm Beach Gardens’ fledgling downtown calls for the demolition of The Cheesecake Factory restaurant to make way for a 280-unit apartment building.

The proposed move, announced Tuesday before a city advisory board, adds residents — an integral component of any downtown, even one started in the suburban shadow of the Gardens Mall. 

It’s not the only change proposed by Chicago-based Shopcore Properties, which already is deep into a redesign of the Downtown Palm Beach Gardens property it bought for $141 million in 2014. 

Continue reading “EXCLUSIVE: Cheesecake Factory to be torn down at Downtown Gardens”

Long time coming: Spat stalls demolition of old DMV building on PGA Boulevard

Driver’s license building could be demolished this summer if truce holds between Tax Collector Anne Gannon and Palm Beach Gardens.

It’s arguably the ugliest building on PGA Boulevard.

Amid upscale office towers and the Gardens Mall, the squat, blue-trimmed structure looks like a mistake, vacant and grim, the blue-lettered “DRIVER LICENSES” sign washed away long ago. 

In the last public action, the Palm Beach Gardens City Council approved Tax Collector Anne Gannon’s $11 million proposal to replace the former driver’s license building with a structure nearly 10 times the size.

That was in May 2019. 

Since then, nothing has happened. At least not at the building site. 

Continue reading “Long time coming: Spat stalls demolition of old DMV building on PGA Boulevard”

Stoplight feud yields peaceful accord

After county caved, Gardens makes next move to allow installation of Bay Hill Estates stoplight.

While Palm Beach County and Palm Beach Gardens are heading to court over millions in developer fees, the saga of the Bay Hill Estates stoplight appears to be reaching a peaceful conclusion.

After getting city council permission May 6 to sue the county over its refusal to allow the stoplight, Palm Beach Gardens City Manager Ron Ferris sent the county an email late Tuesday accepting its conditions to move forward.

Continue reading “Stoplight feud yields peaceful accord”

Palm Beach County sues Gardens over developer fees

County says city just can’t do away with long-standing rules.

Negotiations to resolve a city-county dispute over at least $1.7 million in developer fees have failed, resulting in Palm Beach County suing Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday.

In its broadest form, the suit seeks to resolve a disagreement over county power. At issue is whether cities can collect money from new developments to resolve vexing local transportation issues without passing along fees to the county for regional road work.

Continue reading “Palm Beach County sues Gardens over developer fees”

Looking for adventure? Follow the Lake Worth Waterkeeper into South Florida’s wild and wet interior

An inaugural trip takes hikers off-the-beaten path north of Jupiter’s Riverbend Park.

INTO THE WILD they marched, explorers of all ages — from adventure-seeking seniors to the young mother with the 18-month-old strapped to her back — hiking across mud through towering cypress forests and lush green gullies of fern.

Occasionally, they swatted away giant grasshoppers, tripped over cypress knees, slipped in sugar sand, and cursed the heat.

Continue reading “Looking for adventure? Follow the Lake Worth Waterkeeper into South Florida’s wild and wet interior”

County stops stopping Gardens’ stoplight

Lawsuit could be averted as Palm Beach County agrees to accept Bay Hill Estates stoplight, with conditions.

Palm Beach County relented Wednesday in its opposition to a stoplight on Northlake Boulevard outside Bay Hill Estates.

A week after Palm Beach Gardens threatened to sue, the county said it still didn’t believe the light is warranted but it acknowledged a 2016 agreement “inadvertently” gave Gardens the power to decide, as Gardens City Attorney Max Lohman had insisted.

Continue reading “County stops stopping Gardens’ stoplight”

Downtown Gardens snares outdoor giant REI

Palm Beach Gardens and Tallahassee will be sixth and seventh Florida stores for Seattle-based co-op.

Downtown Palm Beach Gardens landed a destination anchor store Tuesday in REI Co-op, an outdoors outfitter known for its sporting goods, excursions and profit-sharing.

REI would open in spring 2022, filling 25,000 square feet vacated by Urban Outfitters and TooJay’s Deli. It would be the Seattle-based co-op’s seventh Florida store and second in South Florida. 

Continue reading “Downtown Gardens snares outdoor giant REI”

‘Abuse of power:’ Gardens ready to sue county over Bay Hill stoplight

Residents says they take their lives in their hands at Northlake Boulevard west of Ibis but Palm Beach County says intersection is not dangerous enough for a stoplight.

The hostility building in recent months between Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach County officials has reached a boiling point.

The two governments have feuded in the past, from the spat over a regional park to the ongoing showdown over the city’s mobility fee

But a long-simmering dispute over a stoplight on Northlake Boulevard seven miles west of Interstate 95 may blow the lid off the kettle.

On Thursday, the Palm Beach Gardens City Council gave their attorney the authority to take the county to court — not over the county’s refusal to allow the stoplight, although that remains likely, but over the county’s failure to promptly fulfill a city public records request.

Continue reading “‘Abuse of power:’ Gardens ready to sue county over Bay Hill stoplight”

Railroad quiet zones two years away in north county

Faster Brightline trains raise specter of more deaths even as quiet zones two years away.

Railroad quiet zones are coming to Palm Beach Gardens and north county. 

But not until 2023, at the earliest. And not without some risk.

The sounds of silence won’t break out over north county any earlier than 2023, officials say, even though the $2.2 million needed to pay for more gates and other safety features at 26 crossings is in hand. 

That’s because the final testing of safety measures can’t start until the Brightline passenger service completes construction on a second set of tracks, not just in Palm Beach County but all the way to Orlando. That $2.7 billion job is not scheduled to be done until the final months of 2022. 

Continue reading “Railroad quiet zones two years away in north county”