The Palm Beach-based Frisbie Group plans to appear before the Town Council in February with plans to renovate and expand a large commercial building at the east end of Worth Avenue.
The zoning application calls for an architectural renovation of the 45-year-old Mediterranean-style building at 125 Worth Ave. based on town-approved design guidelines for Worth Avenue.
A two-story addition is proposed on the east end of the property. The owners are requesting to demolish and rebuild the fourth floor of the four-story building and expand its footprint to add four residences, according to the application.
Miami-based Rafael Portuondo is the architect.
The Frisbie Group bought the 50,017-square-foot office and retail building from Crocker Partners of Boca Raton for nearly $31 million in October 2017.
RELATED: Frisbie Group pays $30.7 million for Worth Avenue building.
Cody Crowell, construction manager for the Frisbie Group, said Friday the “re-imagination” of 125 Worth Ave. is critically important for the town.
“Retail has been evolving and Worth Avenue is just starting to feel the painful effects,” he said. “As landlords we must invest in our buildings, all through the island, to make Palm Beach the best place to work, shop, dine and live.”
Last month, the council approved a plan to convert the second floor of the Tiffany & Co. building at 259 Worth Ave. into a luxury condominium with additional living space on the rooftop.
RELATED: Tiffany redo called a ’pivotal point’ for Worth Avenue.
The Tiffany building’s new owners, Kean Development Co. and Hyde Retail Partners, paid $20 million for the 16,374-square-foot two-story building in October 2018. Longtime tenant Tiffany has already moved its retail operation from the second story to the ground level. Construction starts in May.
Mayor Gail Coniglio said the Tiffany project represents “the next step in retrofitting old Palm Beach buildings” amid a rapidly changing retail climate in which stores are closing nationwide despite a healthy economy.
Council members said they expect to see more retail-to-residential conversions as stores struggle to adapt to a new national landscape shaped by online shopping.
The 125 Worth project was scheduled for Wednesday’s council meeting, but the Frisbie Group asked for a deferral until the Feb. 12 council meeting so it could communicate with neighbors about their concerns, Crowell said.
The council is being asked for a site plan review and to approve the expansion and on-site shared parking, subject to a parking study by the Kimley-Horn engineering firm.
RELATED: Worth Avenue objects to paid parking.
The owner is seeking a variance to expand the building height to 63 feet instead of the 35-foot maximum allowed. The nonconforming building is currently 53 feet tall.
Another variance would allow the air-conditioned area on the fourth story to be expanded from 3,448 square feet to 13,213 square feet.
Variances also are requested for setbacks and lot coverage.
An open fourth-story trellis of 5,433 square feet also is proposed.
Crowell said the Frisbie Group wants to bring the design plans before the Architectural Commission on Feb. 26. It was originally to come before the commission in December but was deferred.
Among its latest projects, the Frisbie Group is completing its Via Flagler mixed-use project in partnership with The Breakers at the former Testa’s site in the 200 block of Royal Poinciana Way.
Across town, the company has four ultra-luxury townhouses under construction on the site of the former Charley’s Crab restaurant facing Midtown Beach at Hammon Avenue. It is building a spec house on the adjacent lot on Gulfstream Road.