The county’s build-out continues, with a development group snapping up the last piece of prime vacant land west of Boca Raton.
The property at Glades Road and 95th Avenue was a longtime standout, a swath of farmland surrounded by shopping centers and housing communities. But the Johns family, who owned the old pepper farm for decades, finally has parted with the site.
In a deal completed last month, the South Florida pioneer family sold the 38 acres to a group that plans to build Uptown Boca Raton, a $200 million complex featuring a shopping center, movie theater and 456 rental apartments. The apartments will be in seven, five-story buildings.
The group consists of Giles Capital Group, Rosemurgy Properties and Schmier Property Group, in partnership with Wheelock Street Capital. In two transactions, the group paid $37.97 million to the family of Earl Johns, the patriarch who died in 2009.
Among the tenants slated to go into Uptown Boca Raton: Lucky’s Market, a national grocery store chain founded by two Colorado chefs. Lucky’s is opening its first Palm Beach County location at the site.
Also coming: Silverspot Cinema, a small luxury theater chain with five other locations, including Miami and Coconut Creek. Uptown Boca Raton also is the company’s first Palm Beach County location.
Plans are to have the 151,000-square-foot shopping center open in the summer or fall of 2019, with the apartments ready in early 2020, said Brian Schmier, chief executive of the Schmier Property Group.
Schmier said he thinks the project will be attractive to people living in the area who want to walk to a movie theater or grocery store.
The goal is to create a vibrant center in a crowded patch of strip shopping centers.
“While it will have a modern look, we want it to be warm and inviting as well,” Schmier said. “West Boca lacks a sense of place,” he said, where people not only can dine but also hang out.
The Schmier family built the new Park Place shopping center next to Office Depot, and University Commons across from Florida Atlantic University, among many projects. Both Boca Raton shopping centers have been hits, so the family knows something about the retail market in south county.
Plans are to fill the space with a range of shops and restaurants to create a “cluster feel,” so that people will gather there and then decide which eatery to choose, Schmier said.