The produce market will anchor the new Flamingo Place project at the former Ragtops location on South Dixie Highway, Warehouse District developers plan a home design district.

South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach continues to be the new “it” place for retailers and investors.

Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market will take space in the planned Flamingo Place development, at the corner of Claremore Drive and Dixie Highway, said Bill Reichel, president of Reichel Realty in Palm Beach Gardens. The family-owned and operated “farm to fork” market has leased 7,600 square feet in the project, formerly home to the Ragtops Antique Auto dealership.

With all the new investment and development in the area, “we thought a market would be a great fit,” said Reichel, who is handling the project’s leasing. Bedner’s is expected to open during the first quarter of 2020.

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Meanwhile, the group behind West Palm Beach’s Warehouse District, including the Grandview Public Market food hall, in June paid $10.2 million for a group of warehouses along Florida Avenue, just west of Dixie Highway.

Plans are to create a district inspired by the numerous design, home and trades companies now dotting South Dixie Highway, said Robert Roxas, project manager of Johnstone Capital Partners in West Palm Beach.

The warehouse properties stretch from Ardmore Road on the north side to Belvedere Road on the south.

Johnstone Capital, led by Hunter Beebe, has a knack for finding the next hot spot.

The company turned a $5.5 million investment in some old warehouses at Elizabeth and Claire avenues into the Warehouse District, featuring Grandview Public Market and Steam Horse Brewing. The company then sold the properties for $18.5 million last year.

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“We’ve studied the local market and there is a big supply of local designers but no design district, where each tenant feeds off one another,” Roxas said.

The unnamed design district will be of interest to anyone doing a custom home, Roxas said. The district will feature individual spaces for interior designers, art studios and galleries, as well as the trades, such as custom cabinet makers.

Roxas expects construction will start in January with completion expected by April.

At the 501 Belvedere Road building, a high profile spot, plans are to feature two businesses that developers hope will draw people to the design district.

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One tenant will be a restaurant, featuring indoor and patio seating. Another tenant will be a high-end gym called 1Fitness, featuring private personal training as well as group fitness.

Roddy Limited Partnership, managed by Edward Roddy in Palm Beach, sold the warehouses, which were built in the 1950s and 1960s. The Palm Beach Opera and Jack the Bike Man bike shop lease the northernmost building, which will not be touched for now, Roxas said.

Flamingo Place and the home design district are the latest projects marking the transformation of this once-sleepy stretch of West Palm Beach into an area bustling with new stores and investment.

The rebirth began at the end of the recession but kicked into gear in 2014, the year the Reward Lighting building at 1901 South Dixie was sold to the Buccan restaurant group. The space became Grato Restaurant.

That same year, the Carefree Theater site at 2000 South Dixie went into play, selling to New York developer Charles Cohen for $3 million in 2015.

Since then, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene built the Greene School on a former Mazda car dealership at 2001 South Dixie. In addition, the Norton Museum at 1450 South Dixie unveiled a $100 million expansion.

New restaurants, design studios and shops opened, too.

Bedner’s marks the latest addition to the area. The market is expected to be popular with residents living in many of the historic neighborhoods nearby, as well as Palm Beach residents who frequently shop or eat at Dixie Highway businesses.

Bedner’s already operates a large store and farm at 10066 Lee Road, west of Boynton Beach. In addition, it operates a small grocer at 381 N.E. 3rd Avenue in Delray Beach.

But this West Palm Beach location will be twice the size of the Delray Beach store and offer a greater range of products, Reichel said.

In addition to locally grown produce, Bedner’s will feature a butcher and fish monger, along with a juice and smoothie bar. Bedner’s also sells homemade soups, gourmet cheese, freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and wraps, plus craft beers and wines.

In a statement, Marie Bedner, director of operations, said the company became interested in West Palm Beach after noting strong demand at the West Palm Beach Green market.

“We are truly farmers, delivering freshly picked, sustainably grown produce directly from our own farms to our stores,” Bedner said.

The 38,000-square-foot Flamingo Place project has been in the works for more than a year and could also feature a wellness center in a rear building.

In 2018, an affiliate of Eastern Real Estate of Massachusetts in 2018 paid $5.2 million for three properties that make up Flamingo Place.

Together with New England Development, Eastern bought the old Palm Beach Mall in 2012, knocked it down and built the successful Palm Beach Outlets in 2014. The outlets mall is on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, east of Interstate 95.

Both companies now are teamed up to develop Flamingo Place. New England founder and chairman Stephen Karp is a part-time Palm Beach resident.

Bedner’s presence on South Dixie will compliment other tenants coming soon to the street.

Just to the south at 2751 South Dixie, national retailers Sprouts grocery and Starbucks coffee are said to be looking at locations in the Palm Beach Post complex. The 11-acre property is being redeveloped into a mixed-use center.

In addition, construction on the Carefree Theater complex, featuring a multiplex, apartments and a restaurant, is expected to begin in 2020.

aclough@pbpost.com

@acloughpbp



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