atlas-on-clematis

Atlas Real Estate Partners talk Clematis Street

Remember back in 2012 when we put the 200 block of Clematis Street on the map with the People’s Choice award (as well as three others) in Miami Herald’s “Best Block in South Florida” contest?

Since then we’ve had tremendous growth with the openings of Panaterie, Lynora’s and The Alchemist whose street-side dining has added to the charm of this block. Just around the corner on Banyan we also saw Camelot and The Avocado Grill open up, bringing even more people to enjoy this end of Clematis Street.

The news of the bustle surrounding the 200 block made it all the way up to New York where Atlas Real Estate Partners just announced their purchase of the property at 222 Clematis Street. This property is located at the corner of Clematis Street and South Olive Avenue, with tenants that include Design Within Reach, Rocco’s Tacos, and Starbucks.  There is an additional 5,000 sqft of space which they will be leasing.

Atlas is based in New York and run by Managing Principals Arvind Chary and Alex Foster. Atlas Real Estate Partners has closed on 32 acquisitions in the past five years with a current market value of over $500 milion. According to the Palm Beach Post, Atlas is looking to invest an additional $90 million in the West Palm Beach real estate market. More information can found at www.atlasrep.com.

I am very excited to see retail-focused investment in Clematis Street and jumped at the opportunity to find out more about what Atlas  saw in Clematis Street, as well as what their future plans are, through an email interview.

Here you go!

aGuyonClematis: What put Clematis St. and Downtown West Palm Beach on your radar.

Atlas: Beyond West Palm Beach, we’re bullish on South Florida long-term. Florida recently surpassed New York to become the third most populous state in the U.S. and 6 Florida metros ranked in the top 20 fastest-growing metros in the country. The combination of positive geographic attributes, strong employment, natural beauty, tax-advantages, and affordable cost of living make South Florida primed for continued population growth. West Palm has a number of locational attributes which make it unique; it’s located directly off 95, under 5 miles from Palm Beach International Airport, and directly across the Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach Island. West Palm also has a mix of flourishing historic residential neighborhoods, CityPlace, antique row, Palm Beach Outlets, and of course Clematis Street, the cultural and entertainment hub of the downtown.

Clematis Street is particularly attractive because of its historic “main street” charm, pedestrian-friendly design, and location directly on the waterfront across the Intracoatsal from Palm Beach Island. It’s truly the city’s living room, and nowhere is that more apparent than the 200 block where a mix of restaurants, design showrooms, cafes, and trendy fitness concepts meet to create an energetic and family-friendly vibe.

aGuyonClematis: What do you envision Clematis Street to look like in 10 years.

Atlas: Over the past several years Clematis Street has welcomed creative retailers that further energize the street. When combined with the robust development pipeline that is set to bring new boutique hotels, class A office space, and luxury residential to the area, we think Clematis will continue to improve and attract high-quality tenants.

More specifically, Clematis will attract creative retailers including designers, home furnishing showrooms, and artistic tenants who cater to the growing millennial population and the wealth of Palm Beach Island. Additionally, a shift towards a healthy lifestyle is apparent in West Palm Beach. The running trails along Flagler Drive are filled, the Green Market is bustling every Saturday, and a variety of new healthy food and fitness concepts line Clematis Street. The increasing density/walkability will continue to benefit the Downtown.

aGuyonClematis: The history of Clematis St. has included big box retailers such as banana republic, Burdines, Woolworths, and more. Now that they are gone it’s difficult to find big retailers to fill these expensive 4000sqft+ spaces. Would you consider subdividing some of your space to make way for smaller & more boutique retailers that will focus on the needs of our urban core?

Atlas: We’re currently marketing the ~5,000 SF vacancy at 218 Clematis which can be sub-divided into 1,600-5,000 SF space. With CityPlace nearby catering toward national tenants, Clematis will attract brand-centric creative tenants who seek the historical architecture and main street vibe that can’t be replicated through new construction.

aGuyonClematis: If you were to pair up Clematis Street with a street in NYC which would it be and why?

Atlas: Great question. While New York is a massive city, it’s actually made up of a series of neighborhoods, each with their own unique charm and characteristics.

Clematis Street is most similar to Spring or Prince Streets, the main shopping streets in the trendy SoHo (South of Houston) neighborhood, where upscale boutiques, galleries, and international chain stores line the cobblestone streets of historic cast-iron buildings once used for manufacturing. Creative loft office space and multi-million dollar loft condos occupy the floors above. It’s a destination for tourists and locals alike, where it’s not uncommon to see local artists selling their work on the street, graffiti artists working on their latest mural, and tourists enjoying the plethora of food trucks.

The concentration and growth of financial firms in Palm Beach County, mainly hedge fund and private equity funds relocating from the Northeast, make the comparison particularly fitting.

aGuyonClematis: What is your favorite thing about Clematis Street.

Atlas: The history, mix of creative tenants, and shear number of residents and city officials who are so passionate about the area. The historical architecture, pedestrian-friendly streetscape, trolley system, and series of events the city hosts truly make it a special place that a developer can’t recreate.

Furthermore, the energy of many start-up businesses and tech companies, coupled with the vibrant streetscape (and sunshine!) are infectious. West Palm Beach is the only city in Southeast Florida that has a bustling downtown, business/banking hub, and great nightlife. The combination of these attributes make Downtown West Palm Beach a particularly attractive market for us.

At 222 Clematis we aim to maintain the iconic and historic charm of the building while ushering in the future of Clematis Street by targeting creative tenants that add energy and vibrancy to the area.

Living the life in Downtown West Palm Beach