West Palm OKs Restoration Hardware ‘mansion’ for median near CityPlace

The Related Cos. got city permission Monday to build a mansionlike Restoration Hardware Gallery at a key entry to downtown but at the same time preserve the right to replace it in the future with an office tower three times its size.

The City Commission, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, voted to allow the New York developer to build a store of up to 53,000 square feet at the site, in the median of Okeechobee Boulevard, with CityPlace to its north and the convention center Hilton hotel to the south. Related retains the right to build 150,000 square feet of office space when Restoration Hardware’s lease expires.

A representative for the retailer said it will have a 15-year lease with three five-year renewal options. The cost of the project has not yet been determined, he said. The company expects the store to open within a year.

The City Commission also approved a site plan for the California-based home furnishings chain.

Ken Himmel, president and CEO of Related Urban, has dubbed the gallery “a Mizner-inspired mansion” that features a grand entrance, courtyards, garden terraces, reflecting pools, a fountain and a rooftop park with palm trees.

The entrance to the four-story furniture gallery at 560 Okeechobee Blvd. will face west and its rear entrance will face the store’s parking lot. The lot will have about 30 spaces, one-third of what is required but valets will shuttle cars to the adjacent CityPlace garage.

The store also will be accessible by crosswalk. The city has been studying how to make pedestrian crossings safer in that section of Okeechobee Boulevard, a 40-mile-per-hour stretch that sees heavy commuter traffic.

Related originally pegged the site for a 200,000-square-foot Gateway Tower office building. But after a failed bid to lure pre-construction tenants, Related began working to house Restoration Hardware’s gallery there.

Based in Corte Madera, Calif., Restoration Hardware sells furniture, lighting, textiles, bathware, baby and child products.

It started as a store for historical knobs and fixtures, then broadened into furniture. More recently it transformed into a “curator” of luxury home furnishings, according to the company’s website, building grand galleries, eschewing traditional mall stores. The goal: to create a landmark for cities where the galleries are located.

Restoration Hardware has opened RH galleries in Atlanta and West Hollywood. Galleries also have been built in historic properties: the Museum of Natural History in Boston and the Historic Post Office in Greenwich, Conn.

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