Could Villas be Built on Old Goodwill Site on Antique Row in West Palm Beach?


WEST PALM BEACH — The old Goodwill site on Dixie Highway north of Southern Boulevard is a 4-acre reminder of the real estate crash.

Once slated for 82 condominiums and townhomes, 14,000 square feet of shops and a three-story garage, it’s been a tattered vacant lot in the middle of the city’s Antique Row since 2006.

But a new developer is seeking approval to resurrect the site with a scaled back version of the previous plan.

Fort Lauderdale-based Label & Co. Developments, Inc. hopes to get the go-ahead from the city this fall to start building the Villas on Antique Row, which will include 46 townhomes, each with a two-car garage, and 6,800 square feet of retail space.

“The housing market has been picking up steadily for the past two years, both locally and nationally,” said Label & Co. President Harry Posin, who wants to market the units for between the low $300,000’s and low $500,000’s. “This is an extremely, extremely popular area near the Intracoastal and downtown.”

The two-year-old Label & Co.’s other project is the recently completed Centra community in Boca Raton on Yamato Road west of Congress Avenue.

Construction is scheduled to start on the Villas on Antique Row by mid-2013, Posin said. The land for the proposed development extends from Dixie Highway to Olive Avenue between Monroe Drive and just north of Kenilworth Boulevard.

It is currently under contract with owner RAM Development, which will keep an interest share in the property. The development could go to the planning advisory board as early as Tuesday, said Rick Greene, planning manager for West Palm Bea

ch. He said the city has been working with Label & Co. on traffic and parking issues, as well as how to handle the commercial portion of the “live/work units.”

Some of the buildings facing Dixie Highway will be small shops on the bottom and residential on top, Greene said.

Two parcels of land make up the four acres, according to county property records. The piece along Olive Avenue cost $1.8 million when purchased in 2005. The Dixie Highway piece cost $2.1 million in March 2007

“Speaking for myself, I’m excited about the project,” Greene said. “We have formed a committee to vitalize the South Dixie corridor and we’re hoping this will be another domino that gets knocked down.”

Shop owners on Antique Row also seem happy with the project, while some residents of neighboring historic districts are happier than when the land was approved for 82 units. Label & Co. has been meeting with residents in the El Cid and Southland Park/Prospect Park historic districts to the north and the Central Park Historic District to the South.

“I will say they have gone to great lengths to reach out and that is very much appreciated,” said El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association President Nancy Pullum about the developer. “Everyone is interested in anything that will bring more life and vitality to the street.”

In the past several years successful businesses such as City Diner and the glittering two-story Cedric Dupont Antiques have filled holes in Antique Row’s walkable shopping district. Even the ABC Fine Wine and Spirits store is getting a makeover.

There are still empty storefronts, but Victor deMarinis, a Realtor and vice president of the South Dixie Antique Row Association, said those are filling up.

“Spaces are not sitting vacant for long,” deMarinis said. “I guess everybody has to say things aren’t as good as they were in the boom, but we had a very good summer, almost like it was season.”

The initial asking prices for the Villas on Antique Row are also within reason, deMarinis said. Recent sales in Magnolia Court, a townhome community north of the proposed development between Dixie Highway and Olive Avenue, have been in the high $300’s to low $400’s.

“I think the timing is just right,” deMarinis said.