Tag: OKs

Palm Beach board OKs architecture for Palm House hotel renovation

The Architectural Commission approved the architecture but wants to restudy the landscaping plan for the long-stagnant Palm House hotel property in Palm Beach.

Darrell Hofheinz
| Palm Beach Daily News

The Palm Beach Architectural Commission voted 6-1 last week to approve revisions to the architecture of the Palm House hotel renovation project, which has remained unfinished for years.

But the board wants to take another look at the light peach color the building at 160 Royal Palm Way will be painted.

Commissioners, however, deferred the hotel’s landscaping plan to its Nov. 20 meeting for a restudy. The landscaping was extensively discussed at the board’s meeting Wednesday by attorneys representing neighbors on Brazilian Avenue, whose properties back up to the hotel’s southern boundary.

The board first reviewed the renovation project in September and requested multiple revisions. 

The project was designed by a team led by architect Sean McLendon of Cooper Carry in Atlanta for the hotel’s latest owner, a company affiliated with London + Regional Properties. The hotel property changed hands for about $40 million in May 2018 via a private sale approved by a bankruptcy court. No construction work has been carried out at the shuttered building for six years.

Commissioners last week said they want more information about where plant buffers on the southern perimeter will be installed and how the landscaping there will be affected by the constraints of building setbacks and a 5-foot-wide easement shared by the hotel and neighboring homes.

“If you were living behind this (hotel), what would you want to see done?” asked attorney John Eubanks, who represented two of the neighboring property owners.

Commissioners also asked the design team to restudy the landscaping on the east side of the hotel, opposite a commercial building, and consider adding a service gate there at the driveway leading from Royal Palm Way.

Like Eubanks, attorney Don Lunny, representing another neighbor, said his client was concerned about the impact of three items recently added to plans that were approved by the town years ago.  Those include a prep kitchen for the hotel’s banquet room; a bar and restroom area in the pool courtyard; and a fountain feature at the south end of the pool.

In a separate vote, the commission endorsed 11 code variances for the project, which are expected to be considered for approval Nov. 13 by the Town Council, said Palm House attorney Maura Ziska.

Commissioners learned from the design team that the trash-collection area at the southeast corner of the building will be removed. That had been a concern of one of the neighbors directly behind the garbage area.

Instead, the hotel will now keep its garbage in the hotel’s basement in cold storage until it is picked up, Ziska said. Commissioner Jeffrey Smith had suggested that option at the September meeting.

Commissioner Alexander Ives cast the lone vote against approving the architecture, saying it needed refinements to unify the scale of different parts of the building.

But he acknowledged that the designers are

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Council OKs downtown hotel, rental development

The Beaumont City Council on Tuesday voted to let development of a hotel and apartments in a vintage downtown building proceed. One councilman hailed the project as a benefit for the city.

The council unanimously approved a specific-use permit that would allow the owner of the property at Forsyth and Orleans streets to remake the former antique mall into market-priced apartments and hotel rooms.

Councilman Mike Getz said the city needs more development like this.

“This is exactly the project we need to see downtown,” he said. “It is private development coming in downtown to have people stay downtown.”

Owner Richard Gilbert, principal of GP Realty, told The Enterprise Monday that this is a good time to act. He cited a low supply of downtown units, perceived demand and low interest rates.

There are currently 60 rental units downtown, mostly concentrated in two developments completed about a decade ago.

Work could start sometime after the start of next year on the 1938 building, which is is about 12,800 square feet.

Getz asked Planning and Development Director Chris Boone to highlight the kind of incentives available for projects like the Orleans Street development.

The city has its own Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Program for downtown property that offers fee waivers, expedited permitting, and tax abatements up to seven years. There are also Chapter 380 abatements for infrastructure improvements.

Most of downtown Beaumont has also been designated an Opportunity Zone under the U.S. Treasury program created in 2017. Developments in these zones qualify for tax benefits based on their investments.

Boone said no local incentives had yet been approved for the project.

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