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It’s a triple play for three real estate sales on Dixie Highway

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.

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