Gary Goldring, part owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and newly minted Palm Beach homeowner, sees possibilities for Lake Worth Beach.
The Bamboo Room, a beloved nightclub in downtown Lake Worth Beach, has been purchased by investor Gary Goldring, who helped rehabilitate a Connecticut town by buying historic buildings and restoring them.
Goldring is a former Wall Street executive and a current part-owner of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball Team. In October, he paid $1.3 million for the property at 17 S J St., Palm Beach County property records show.
The building’s name is the Paradise Building, but it’s mostly known for its upstairs space, the Bamboo Room.
Goldring is a former co-chief executive of Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, a securities firm that merged with Goldman Sachs in 2000.
In an interview Wednesday, Goldring said he discovered Lake Worth Beach after recently buying a Palm Beach condominium to escape the Connecticut winters.
Goldring said he found Lake Worth Beach had a funky, fun vibe that he liked.
The city reminded him of New Milford, Connecticut, where he bought many historic properties and restored them. Lake Worth Beach also has its share of old and historic buildings that need rehabbing, he said.
Goldring said he plans to make cosmetic fixes to the 8,142-square-foot Paradise Building, built in 1923. The changes include adding impact glass windows and better lighting, plus some general “sprucing up.”
Goldring said he’s interested in buying other properties downtown, too, but he doesn’t plan to buy buildings to tear them down.
“We restore buildings,” Goldring said. “We work with our tenants who are running their businesses. We want them to be successful and improve their businesses.”
The Paradise Building formerly was owned by real estate agent Ryan Mueller and partners. They bought the property for $710,000 in 2015 with the idea of owning a bar and live music venue as a “bucket list” item. But day job responsibilities, including Mueller’s RJM Real Estate company in Delray Beach, led the partners to put the property up for sale, Mueller said.
The upstairs Bamboo Room music venue is leased to a group led by Darrin Cummings.
The Bamboo Room long has been known as one of Palm Beach County’s top destination for blues and folk acts. Cummings said he hosts live entertainment, but he also features deejays, as well as private events. Making it a live music-only space “is hard in this day and age,” Cummings said. “We found that having a multi-use venue works for us.”
Cummings said he’s excited about Goldring’s interest in improving the property. “He wants to make it amazing,” Cummings said. “And this is his first gig out here, so he wants to make sure it’s done right.”
Downstairs, the Paradise Building is leased to two tenants: Rudy’s Pub music venue and bar, and Revelry Craft Beer.
Mary Sisoian, owner of Rudy’s Pub, also likes what she hears from Goldring. “He has big plans to improve the appearance of the building,” she said. “He wants to clean it up and make it the best it can be. We had a long conversation, and he’s interested in his tenants being successful.”
While West Palm Beach to the north, and Delray Beach to the south, have undergone dramatic revitalizations, Lake Worth Beach has not. Off and on through the years, its charming downtown and historic buildings have been a lure for businesses and investors. But some plans washed out with the economy’s ups and downs, while others have been too bold for some residents who want to keep the city’s quirky character.
Goldring said he is sensitive to a city’s legacy.
His involvement in New Milford, began when Goldring said he was “talked into” buying the downtown movie theater, the Bank Street Theater, by the town’s former mayor.
Through Goldring’s company, Bank Street Group, he began buying and rehabilitating numerous old and historic properties. “It was a total accident. I didn’t intend to renovate half the town over half a decade, building by building,” Goldring said.
But he did. Today, Bank Street Group’s holdings include 10 properties, including the town’s former department store and pharmacy. The properties have been turned into mixed-use centers featuring restaurants, shops and businesses.
Bank Street also bought a former bank building, built in 1902. It was an abandoned property in the middle of town but was on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bank Street bought the bank building and restored it. Today the property, known as the United Bank Building, is home to a law firm, an accounting firm and a marketing company. It also features event space called 19 Main.
“We had good luck restoring the buildings and the town is now prospering,” Goldring said. But Goldring credits the community’s local leaders, businesses and contractors with helping make it work: “In a small town, everybody’s got to pitch in.”
New Milford Mayor Pete Bass said the town is grateful to Goldring. “We can’t thank him enough for his investment in our downtown,” Bass said. “He’s been a tremendous asset. A lot of the historic properties he’s bought, he brought them up beyond code,”
Bass cited the movie theater, which was in disarray and now is a destination. He also noted the 19 Main banquet space, which he said “has been done up to the nines” and hosts weddings and other special events.
As a result of the work that Goldring and other investors have done, Bass said New Milford now is a popular destination for visitors from New York and Boston. “People come here and they say it’s like a Hallmark card,” Bass said.