By Jennifer Sorentrue – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Palm Beach International Airport managers are trying to re-establish a direct flight between West Palm Beach and Los Angeles, while also boosting revenues from non-airport sources in an effort to help drive down fees airlines pay to use the facility.
Two years after American Airlines dropped its non-stop flight between PBIA and Los Angeles International Airport, Palm Beach County Airports Director Bruce Pelly said he was hopeful his staff will find a new airline to re-establish the route. “We have a carrier interested,” Pelly said Tuesday during a lunchtime meeting of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County. But changes at the L.A. airport have hindered the effort, he added. “The issue right now is what is going on in L.A.,” Pelly told the group gathered at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. “That airport in a state of flux, and they are moving carriers all over the building and relocating. As soon as they get settled down, and if they have capacity at a gate, we think we will probably get L.A. back.”
Roughly 18 months after it launched the non-stop service, American Airlines announced in 2015 that it planned to drop the flight. The direct route had been heralded as a major victory for PBIA as it competed with airports in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. At the time, American said efforts to keep up with customer demand and maximize profits led the company to cancel the flight. Pelly said the non-stop flight was “very successful,” adding that the merger between U.S. Airways and American Airlines contributed to it’s cancellation. “Unfortunately we had sold that flight to American Airlines, and in the process of selling that flight to American Airlines, U.S. Airways took over American Airlines,” Pelly said. “As soon as U.S. Airways took over they dropped the L.A. flight because their philosophy was everything should go through Charlotte.”
Meanwhile, as airlines continue to look for ways to cut costs, Pelly said the airport is also focused on boosting revenue from non-aviation sources, including land leases outside of the terminal. The county’s department of airports owns a number of parcels around PBIA, and Pelly said airport officials have inked a series of deals to lease some of those sites to other businesses.
In January, a travel-oriented convenience plaza opened next to the airport. The plaza, which includes a 7Eleven, Mobil gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts, also serves as the airport’s cell phone waiting lot. As part of the development agreement with the county, West Palm Beach Plaza LLC will lease the 3.5-acre site from the airport for $88,000 a year. The airport will receive 2.5 percent of annual gross revenues that exceed $1 million from the convenience store, restaurant and car wash. The airport will receive 3 percent of gross revenues that exceed $2.5 million. The airport also will receive one-half cent from every gallon of fuel sold at the gas station, airport officials said.
Airport officials have also agreed to lease property near the corner of Southern Boulevard and Congress Avenue to a Toyota dealership. A hotel is set to be built on another airport-owned parcel near the corner of Australian Avenue and Belvedere Road. Revenue from those leases will help reduce the cost of operating the airport, savings the department can use to help lower the fees that airlines pay to use the facility — a move that airport officials say could help attract more flights. “The more of those dollars that we can bring in, will help us reduce our cost to their airline and make us more attractive,” Pelly said. “We are always trying to figure out ways to get that number down.”
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON PBPOST.COM
By Alexandra Clough – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 8:00 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
It might not be Park Place, but South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach is starting to resemble the Monopoly board game, thanks to a triple-play deal engineered by one investor. The play led to record sales prices on three properties.
Here’s how the deal went down.
Player 1 was investor Jonathan Gladstone. In January, he bought the former Gulfstream Bistro & Seafood Market at 3815 S. Dixie Highway. Then he started looking for someone to lease or buy the empty space.
Player 2 was NRB Properties Inc. The investment group owned a vacant building at 3611 S. Dixie Highway, formerly an antique shop, and NRB was ready to sell.
Player 3 was Morse Geriatric Center, part of MorseLife Health System. The provider of healthcare and housing for seniors owns the Nearly New Thrift Shop at 2218 S. Dixie Highway. Morse wasn’t even interested in selling its building, but the entity wound up being a key part of the transaction.
The deal’s architect was Gladstone, a longtime West Palm Beach investor who is bringing the Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill from Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood to downtown at 209 Sixth St.
Gladstone, like other investors, is eager to be a larger player in the strip of Dixie Highway south of Okeechobee Boulevard.
Since 2012, investors and business owners have been pouring money into buying up sites along this stretch of highway. They’ve transformed many buildings or built new properties, turning them into restaurants, architecture, interior design and real estate firms and even an exclusive primary school, The Greene School.
In recent months, Gladstone said he’s been busy fielding offers on his coveted Gulfstream site, which features a parking lot and is just north of Southern Boulevard in the heart of Antique Row.
But Gladstone liked Morse’s building next to the planned redo of the Carefree Theatre, where theaters, apartments and showroom space are planned. The area is becoming something of a design district, and Gladstone wanted a piece of the action.
Gladstone’s father, the late Arthur Gladstone, donated land off of Haverhill Road in his father’s name, Fred Gladstone, for Morse Geriatric. Gladstone said he knew people to contact at Morse about their thrift store, even though the building wasn’t for sale.
Nearly New is a popular destination for people looking for upscale clothing, estate jewelry and decorator furniture.
“I went to them and said, ‘Is there any chance you want to swap properties? You belong more in the antique district, and I belong more in your area,’ ” Gladstone recalled.
Talks commenced. But over time, Gladstone said the parties realized that turning the old Gulfstream space into a thrift store didn’t make sense financially.
Meanwhile, the co-owner of Field of Greens salad and sandwich shop at 412 Clematis St. wanted to buy the Gulfstream bistro site for a new restaurant concept. Gladstone agreed to sell.
Gladstone still wanted to buy Morse’s building, but Morse officials didn’t want to sell the thrift store if they didn’t have a replacement site.
Not to worry, Gladstone told them. He had a plan.
Gladstone took Morse officials right down the street to 3611 S. Dixie Highway.
The 8,000-square-foot, two-story building is larger than Morse’s existing 7,200-square-foot thrift store space. Even better, it has a parking lot.
The building’s broker, Rebel Cook of Rebel Cook Real Estate, was thrilled because she was looking for a buyer who would occupy the property.
Morse’s Nearly New Thrift shop fit the bill. “It’s a large open space in very good condition,” Cook said of the space. “And it’s got great visibility.”
All three deals closed during the last two weeks at premium prices, according to deeds recorded with the Palm Beach County clerk’s office.
- The Gulfstream Bistro sold for $1.2 million to GCP Realty LLC, owned by Michael and Debra Lakow. Gladstone bought the Gulfstream Bistro for $800,000 in January, netting him a profit of 44 percent in less than a year.
- The Nearly New Thrift Center sold for $1.4 million to Fenglad Realty LLC, an entity owned by Gladstone, his sister, Edythe, and his husband, Robert Fensterman. The Nearly New building last traded hands for $900,000 in December 2012.
- 3611 S. Dixie Highway sold for $1.65 million to Morse Geriatric. The previous sale was in December 1999 for $595,000. The store’s new space should be ready within two months.
The triple play left Cook marveling at the continued demand for space and high prices being paid for property along South Dixie Highway. “The wheeling and dealing continues,” Cook said. “It’s incredible.”
Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.