Clematis Street barbecue bows out of business



Owner Cleve Mash confirmed the eatery closed after SunFest last week after a struggle to attract evening diners to the barbecue eatery. Bobbie Sue opened in October.

“It was the wrong concept for that street,” said Mash, who is known for his success with other ventures, including the popular Dirty Martini bar and lounge in Palm Beach Gardens’ Downtown at the Gardens shopping center.

“We had a great lunch crowd, but not a strong family presence,” Mash said, especially at night. That’s when the young, hip professionals gather on Clematis Street hot spots for happy hours or nightlife.

Families, on the other hand, prefer a place that’s convenient to go to for weekend meals and has easy parking, Mash added.

Indeed, the trouble with luring dinner guests also led to the closing of Five Guys Burgers & Fries in January, after only 10 months in business. Franchise owner Tom Tracy said then that despite brisk lunch business, the lack of dinner customers hurt sales at the 330 Clematis St. location. “From 4 p.m. on, it was dead,” Tracy said in a January interview.

In January, Mash also acknowledged Bobbi Sue was facing slow dinner business.

But Mash plans to keep the Bobbi Sue brand. One idea: A food truck. Mash said the menu was well-received and even garnered the 2013 WIRK rib round-up People’s Choice Award.

Now Mash has a different idea in mind for the space at 223 Clematis Street, which before him, was occupied by another shuttered restaurant, Reef Road Restaurant & Rum Bar.

Mash said he’ll reopen the space as an Irish gastropub tentatively dubbed J. Flynn’s. An Irish family, John Flynn Sr.and Jr., is buying Mash out of the Bobbi Sue operation but want him to stay on to run J. Flynn’s, Mash said.

With Roxy’s and O’Sheas already on Clematis Street, does the thoroughfare really need another Irish pub?

Mash said yes. In addition to a high-quality food menu, “We’ll focus on live music and an authentic decor that’s lively and fun,” he said. Plans are to redo the interior into an Irish pub and reopen in later summer.

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The Related Group of Miami is wasting no time making sales at Casa Costa in Boynton Beach.

The condo, formerly known as the Promenade, was purchased by Related in January. Since then, Related has logged 80 sales worth about $25 million, said Craig Studnicky, principal of Related ISG International Realty.

The 80 sales surpass total amount of 72 condo units sold by the property’s former owner/developer during a period of a couple of years.

Casa Costa is a 14-story, twin tower behemoth at the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard and Federal Highway. It consists of 318 condo units and 77 hotel condo units. The property fell into trouble during the recession, and Related bought the condo’s note right before a December foreclosure auction. The name was changed from the Promenade to Casa Costa (beach house), to emphasize the property’s ocean views.

Studnicky said buyers fall into three categories: Latin Americans, from Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela; the Northeast, mostly New Yorkers; and local buyers. Studnicky said Latin Americans are mostly interested in renting out their units, while the New Yorkers are buying units as a second home.

Prices range from $160,000 for one-bedroom units to $512,000 for three-bedroom units.

About six sales are being logged each week. At that rate, Studnicky expects Casa Costa to sell out mid-2014.

“Related is offering sales below the replacement costs of the building, and offering (condos) with no condo fees for two years,” Studnicky said. “It’s a tremendous value proposition and I think that’s why we sold 80 units in 3 1/2 months.”

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A car showroom at a mall?

It could happen at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton. Tesla Motors has submitted a proposal to the city of Boca Raton for permission to lease a 2,850-square-foot retail bay at the mall, which is owned by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis.

The Tesla location, just inside the mall’s main entrance on Glades Road, would be used as a “small educational center and showroom” for the electric vehicles, according to paperwork submitted to the city.

In addition, Tesla wants to use six mall parking spaces: Three to serve as charging stations and test drives, and three to serve Tesla’s customers.

Certainly, this is a new use for an old concept — the enclosed shopping mall.

In this case, however, Tesla clearly is going after customers with the cash to buy more than just a couple of designer T-shirts. It’s not just anyone who can afford to buy an electric car that, in the case of the Tesla S, costs around $80,000, or more, if buying the luxury package.

Tesla’s application to the city says it won’t repair or maintain cars at the retail stores, or sell car parts, either.

Tesla says in its petition to the city that its space will “add to the mall’s status” as a shopping destination because there are only two other Tesla Motors locations in Florida: One in Dania Beach and the other in Tampa.

The proposal is set to go before a city planning advisory board May 14 for a preliminary review.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. Contact her at aclough@pbpost.com.


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