BY RANDALL LIEBERMAN
Special to Florida Weekly
It is changing the face of Jupiter.
The construction of Harbourside Place, a $144 million commercial complex going up on the Intracoastal Waterway on the northwest corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1 in Jupiter, is moving briskly and is expected to be completed by next spring.
The 360,000-square-foot development is being built on the site of the old Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum, which is moving to an acre of vacant property adjacent to Fire Station 18 in Burt Reynolds Park on the east side of U.S. 1.
Harbourside Place, which is being developed by Allied Capital & Development of South Florida, LLC (a Palm Beach Gardens-based company), will consist of a nautical ambiance, a marina with public and private slips, an entertainment plaza and outdoor amphitheater, retail space, restaurants and eateries (with some outdoor seating), office sites, a water taxi stand, a trolley stop and two hotels.
“Harbourside Place construction progress is nearing 40 percent, with a completion date scheduled for Spring 2014,” said Nick Mastroianni II, president of Allied Capital & Development. “We look forward to a soft opening in the summer of 2014 and an official grand opening the following fall. “
The hotel property on the 11-acre site is going to be a four-star Wyndham Grand Hotel. The popular Jupiter wine bar and restaurant, Too Bizarre, also will move into a much bigger space within the complex. Another major tenant is the Bravo-Brio Restaurant Group.
“The four-star hotel, Wyndham Grand Jupiter Beach at Harbourside Place, will occupy 112,840 square feet of the development,” Mr. Mastroianni said. “Wyndham offers the level of luxury we were looking for to complement the incoming retail, restaurants and public venues within Harbourside Place. Its restaurant, Deep Blu, is expected to reach the same levels of acclaim as its Orlando location. “
Mr. Mastroianni continued: “We are also excited to have signed leases with Bravo-Brio Restaurant Group and Too Bizarre, a longtime staple to Jupiter residents.”
Mr. Mastroianni says the project is creating more than 2,000 jobs (including construction) and is bringing life to a long-stagnated, prime waterfront area.
“Harbourside Place will create an excess of 2,000 jobs over the next three years and provide exceptional economic stimulus for the region,” Mr. Mastroianni said. “Furthermore, its location at the corner of U.S. 1 and Indiantown Road has long since been a stagnant area awaiting development. Its ease in accessibility and surrounding beauty of the Intracoastal will ensure its popularity and longevity.”
Reaction from city officials to the project is mixed, though mostly positive.
“The Harbourside project is going to activate Jupiter’s Riverwalk, which will give residents the chance to enjoy the waterfront while also creating a sense of a downtown,” Jupiter Councilman Todd Wodraska said. “The Riverwalk is a beautiful stretch that has both peaceful nature stretches, and now with Harbourside and the Jupiter Yacht Club, active retail.”
Brenda Arnold, Town of Jupiter Community Redevelopment Agency program manager, said, “The town is looking forward to the opening of the Harbourside Commercial Center as it will not only provide a boost to the local economy, but also active uses within the Entertainment District of the Riverwalk. The project mix of commercial uses (hotel, restaurant, office and retail), along with public access to the waterfront via the Riverwalk and public boat slips, will be an asset for the community.”
Jupiter Councilman Jim Kuretski, the lone nay vote when the project was approved 4-1 in 2008, has continued to come out against the project. He said he feels the developer has been given some special breaks.
“It’s a significant project that’s under construction and I hope it turns out to be a success,” Mr. Kuretski said. “I see it as a significant change, like bringing CityPlace (of West Palm Beach) to Jupiter, and I don’t feel that’s a good fit for Jupiter. There’s a significant amount of bars and not enough family-style entertainment.”
Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Kigel says Harbourside Place will be good for area business.
“The northern region of Palm Beach County is a great place to live, work and play, and the addition of Harbourside Place further enhances what this community has to offer,” Ms. Kigel said. “With the combination of a hotel, retail space and restaurants, Harbourside Place will be a hub for economic activity, a destination that will attract locals and visitors from all over the country.“
Businesses near the Harbourside site have mixed opinions about how the completion of the new development will affect their customer traffic.
“That’s probably going to draw a lot of people,” said Greg Neece, co-owner of Neece Jewelers Inc., which is in the Jupiter Square shopping center on the southeast corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1. “It will cut into the number of people coming through our shopping center.”
“In the short-term, it will probably hurt our business as people try it out,” agreed Scott Whitcomb, manager of Chili’s Grill & Bar, which is located in the Shoppes at Jupiter shopping center on the northeast corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1. “But, in the long run, it’s going to be a positive for us because it will draw more traffic to our area.”
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