A $75 million senior and rehabilitation complex in Jupiter, empty more than a year after its completion, soon could finally open.
The property’s owner has a plan to bring in a local developer that will build out required research space at the Institute for Healthy Living, on the east side of Central Boulevard just north of Donald Ross Road.
The Institute features a 129-bed skilled nursing rehab center, a 62-bed assisted living facility and a 30-bed center for people with brain disorders. There also is 22,000 square feet of undeveloped space set aside for research.
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The luxurious Institute features beige tones, warm woods and designer light fixtures. But it is empty and has never opened because it cannot obtain a certificate of occupancy from the town.
Last November, Jupiter’s planing and zoning board would not grant the certificate of occupancy needed for the institute to open its doors. The board insisted the Institute feature the research component required when the project was approved in 2010.
Now Seven Kings Holding LLC, a Jupiter-based based real estate firm, has struck a deal to develop the space into wet labs, clean rooms and other research-specific space to attract research, biotech and life science tenants. Seven Kings already has one bioresearch tenant.
“It’s not for the faint of heart, or pocketbook,” Seven Kings President Ray Graziotto, said of the venture, which he expects will cost millions of dollars to build. “But we’re excited about the opportunity to benefit the community by allowing research companies to incubate.”
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On November 19, the Institute’s owner will present Seven Kings’ plan to the town council.
Jupiter Mayor Todd Wodraska on Wednesday seemed open to the idea.
“It appears Seven Kings Holdings is willing to take the risk with the facility to bring the original plan into fruition … to give the bioscience community the opportunity to have lab space,” Wodraska said.
Also on board: Douglas Bingham, Scripps Florida’s executive vice president.
Although Scripps cut ties with the troubled Institute last year, Scripps now backs the plan to have Seven Kings create a research center.
“We think the proposal described to us may prove beneficial to our local bioscience community and facilitate local life-science job creation,” Bingham wrote to Wodraska last month. “Therefore we would like to convey our support for the concept.”
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The plan for the Institute first was proposed in 2010 by Palm Health Partners, which consists of philanthropist and nursing home magnate Elizabeth Fago and her son, Paul Walczak.
Palm Health Partner said the Institute would capture returns on the public’s investment in Scripps Florida, which received a combined $579 million in taxpayer money from the state and Palm Beach County.
The Institute’s goal was to blend research and academia with health care. Fago and Walczak touted interest by Scripps Florida, Jupiter Medical Center and Florida Atlantic University to win town approval for the Institute.
Former Scripps vice president Harry Orf even attended a 2010 council meeting and said the Institute fit into the development of a biotech cluster.
Wowed by the collaboration with Scripps, Jupiter gave the go-ahead to build the senior living and rehab complex on land set aside for bioscience, on the condition the Institute also create space for research.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush had wanted land near Scripps reserved for spin-offs and other biotech companies, in a bid to create critical mass for medical advances and economic growth.
Despite all the enthusiasm over the Institute, the project’s construction was delayed.
In 2015, Palm Health Partners sold the barely-built Institute for $10 million to ARHC NVJUPFL01 LLC, an affiliate of AR-Global of New York, according to county records.
Palm Health agreed to complete the 235,445-square-foot Institute by 2016, with plans to manage the Institute when it opened.
But relations between Palm Health and ARHC became acrimonious, prompting Palm Health to withdraw from its construction role, as well as its role to forge research collaborations, according to a letter ARHC sent to the town.
Amid the turmoil, both Scripps Florida and Jupiter Medical Center cut ties to the Institute.
The Institute’s construction finally wrapped up last year, years behind schedule.
With a brand-new rehab and senior living complex, but no research element, ARHC asked the town’s planning and zoning board to waive the research part.
But the town’s planning and zoning board shot down the request, noting the project never would have been approved if it weren’t for the research component.
ARHC turned to Commercial Florida Realty Services find a tenant.
At around the same time, Seven Kings’ Graziotto was becoming increasingly interested in finding ways to expand northern Palm Beach County’s standing in the life sciences field.
Seven Kings has developed and managed a variety of commercial properties. But the company is known for its expertise in marinas. In 2017, Seven Kings sold 11 of its marinas in Florida, including various Loggerhead Marinas throughout Palm Beach County.
The sale gave Graziotto the time and money to pursue his interest in life sciences. He built lab space at Seven Kings’ Loggerhead Plaza in Juno Beach for Emmune, a Scripps spinoff developing an HIV treatment delivered by injection.
Graziotto sees his company playing a bigger role in bringing the biosciences industry to life in northern Palm Beach County — and then keeping the industry here.
In particular, Graziotto wants to help biotech companies grow out of the incubator space into larger, more permanent facilities, such as manufacturing space, and stay in the county.
“We want them to put down real stakes,” Graziotto said. “Once this gets going, I think the long-term prospect for Palm Beach County is amazing.”