It began as a family story. “There was a very beautiful couple that moved here from up north, and their daughter lived here,” says interior designer Eve Beres, owner of Beres Design Group in Jupiter. The woman had seen Beres’ work in a local magazine and hired her to design her parents’ personal home. When the family formed a construction company, Muir-Yeonas Homes, Beres was the natural choice to design their spec homes.
A MODEL HOME
The Silver Palm Residence is located in the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton. Beres was brought in to take charge of the interior floor plan, cabinetry, finishes and materials. “They had an architect, and then I came in and what I do is critique the architecture and shape the architectural interior space, and become a consultant on all of it,” she explains. She was given carte blanche to do what she wanted with the design, a perk of the history she shares with the family. “It’s nice to have a relationship with the builder because they really trusted me,” Beres says.
The two-story, 5,842-square-foot home has five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. The style is transitional throughout, with a neutral palette that allows for pops of color in unexpected places. The entrance opens into a grand foyer with beige marble tile. A staircase to the right features a custom iron bannister, which was inspired by the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra jewelry design.
LIVING AND DINING ROOMS
The transitional style is highlighted in the living room with a sleek limestone fireplace framed by sconces and balanced on each side by built-in bookcases. The furniture is a soothing mix of warm beige tones and an understated purple, with a glass- and chrome-coffee table and an antique mirror above the fireplace. The result achieves a subtle bounce of the light, creating an inviting, airy atmosphere in the room.
The dining room features a 12-foot ceiling, with the corners curved to feel more like an old world Spanish design. To break up the height, all the millwork has been brought down to where the arch of the entrance begins. An antique mirror is used again to expand the space through light. “The mirror formed a really beautiful reflection at night,” Beres says. A large wood table is centered under a chandelier with a mix of dining chair styles used for seating.
KITCHEN AND BAR
Marble tiles transition to dark walnut wood flooring in the kitchen. The concept is left open to the living room, with details such as upholstered barstools and wall niches to bridge the gap in the transition of space. A large island of natural walnut provides a center point, lit with large pendants in polished nickel that are an ode to the industrial while keeping with the transitional style of the home. Countertops in Carrara marble add an extra layer of elegance.
The bar moves back to the marble tiles, and features custom walnut cabinetry with built-in lighting, a beveled mirror, granite countertops and a hammered copper sink with glass tile backsplash.
The master bedroom is a sumptuous retreat, with silk pillows, a plush faux fur throw, silk curtains, linen settee and a hide ottoman. A large double window overlooks the pool and provides plenty of natural light. A chandelier made of Venetian glass sticks adds another touch of luxury.
The master bathroom is divided into his and hers, connecting through either a hallway or opposite entrances to the shower. Her bathroom is a delicately feminine space, with marble flooring accented with inlaid strips of mother of pearl, a beveled mirror, crystal knobs and polished nickel fixtures.
The outdoor space offers a pool, heated jacuzzi, upper deck and covered patio space divided into three zones. “We tried to make sure we had [a] TV and fireplace without blocking too much of the view,” Beres says. Furnishings and materials were chosen to create a sense of the inside being outside.
THE FINAL STORY
The house served as a crown jewel, giving potential buyers a glimpse of the good life. It has since been sold, and has now transformed from a much-appreciated model to a well-loved home for its current family.
An attorney, a self-employed graphics and interior designer and a retired public relations and marketing executive are vying for one of three vacant seats on the Boca Raton City Council on March 14, the post left open after Deputy Mayor Mike Mullaugh could not run again because of term limits.
The three candidates for Seat B are Emily Gentile, Andy Thomson and Andrea O’Rourke – all political newcomers.
Candidates are not required to live in the district they represent, instead they are elected citywide. However the candidates are split on where they should live. Council members will receive a $28,000 stipend annually plus a $5,400 yearly car allowance, health benefits and contributions to the state pension.
At least two of the candidates – Gentile and Thomson – want the council to formally evaluate City Manager Leif Ahnell and City Attorney Diana Grub Frieser. The pair has not been evaluated in several years, they maintain.
In keeping up with the growth of the city, all three candidates think there needs to be a municipal complex that would include City Hall and other public attractions.
Where there do not agree on everything, very rarely do the candidates differ on how the city should be run.
Gentile says she knows the city and its issues and that her experience working with Fortune 500 clients prepares her for the task.
“I bring to the table strong leadership, communications, analytical and negotiating skills. I know how to get things done,” said Gentile, vice chairwoman of the Downtown Boca Raton Advisory Committee and is chairwoman of the Business Improvement District task force.
She has amassed an impressive laundry list of civic engagement during her 27 years living in South Florida.
She serves on the city’s Historic Preservation Board and the Beach Condominium Association. She’s on the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Collaborative Care Council and the Resident Physician Community Partnership Program for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. She is also active in the Yacht &Racquet Club of Boca Raton.
Gentile wants to see more business downtown so she wants to see better lighting to create a better ambiance and Art in Public Places.
Thomson, a business litigator for the Boca firm of Baritz & Colman, said his experience and track record of public service make him the best qualified for the job.
“What I do for a living now is resolve disputes in businesses. People come to me with their problems…and it’s my job to help solve them,” he said. “And that’s the expertise I bring to local government not because politics is generally divisive but because I have to work with four other city council members to make a decision on something. Who best to help make a decision collaboratively than someone whose job is it is to resolve disputes collaboratively?”
Considering the long history of retirees leading the city, Thomson thinks the time has come for younger blood on the dais.
If elected the father of three young children would join council members Jeremy Rodgers and Scott Singer, who have young families.
While Thomson has been a Boca Raton resident only since August, he said he has been active doing his civic duty. He said he has served on the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, the Children’s Home Society, the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Boca Raton Bowl.
Billing herself as a community servant, O’Rourke wants to be the conduit between residents, community leaders and developers.
“I have built many relationships over many years and so I want to be that voice for the residents,” said O’Rourke, a 37-year resident who has served as editor of BocaWatch, the political website that regularly criticizes the council.
She has been vocal about holding future development to a very high standard. She opposed a Hillstone restaurant on the Wildflower property and Archstone/Palmetto Promenade.
She thinks developers of larger projects should give back to the community in the form of public art and green space.
While O’Rourke has never held public office, she has served on civic boards. She sits on the city’s Downtown Boca Raton Advisory Committee, serves as a community captain for the Boca Raton Bowl college football game, is the past president of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations and is president of Golden Triangle, a voluntary homeowner association in the downtown neighborhood.
Update 9:30: The fire is under control at this time, according to Palm Beach County Rescue.
Original Story: Crews are working a fire at Century Village near Boca Raton, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
Firefighters have located a fire in the third floor storage room of a four-story apartment building in the 55-years-old and older complex on Lyons Road, just south of Yamato Road. The building is being evacuated at this time.
At this time, there does not appear to be any fire on the fourth floor, according to fire rescue.
There are no reports of injuries at this time.
Check back for updates on this breaking news story.
Brown cited “conflicts of interest with current business and positions I hold” in his withdrawal letter to the city clerk, sent on Dec. 12. Brown, who did not respond to The Palm Beach Post’s requests for interview, is a local financial adviser, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Haynie has been mayor of Boca Raton for the past three years and launched her re-election campaign in early December.
Haynie told The Post in December that she aims to continue to advocate for quiet zones as Florida East Coast Railway train horns pass through Boca Raton; promote economic development and the retention of jobs in Boca Raton; and continue to increase levels of of service for public safety, following the addition of new police and fire rescue personnel in this coming year’s city budget.
Even the most strident critics of downtown development in Boca Raton will have a hard time complaining about the new Hyatt Place Hotel.
For decades, the city debated what to put on the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road. In the mid-1980s, voters defeated the plan for a mixed-use project. Long after Mizner Park opened a quarter-century ago, the site remained vacant, with a gas station across the street. Some downtown gateway.
In September 2014, however, the city council approved the Hyatt Place as part of Ram Realty’s the Mark at Cityscape project. Approval came under Ordinance 5052, which allowed extra height—the hotel is 15 stories tall—in exchange for adherence to downtown architectural guidelines. Architect Paul Slattery, who has since died, promised a “visual landmark” with “a human scale.”
As the developer projected, the Hyatt Place opened before the holidays, in time for high season. I toured the hotel with Sales Director Audra Durham, who worked previously for the Hyatt Place in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The parent company bills Hyatt Place as “a new generation of hotels that offer casual hospitality in a smartly designed, high-tech and modern environment.”
Hyatt Place Boca adheres to that model. Durham told me that the hotel wants to position itself as “upscale but at a competitive price.” Like the Hyatt Place in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove, Hyatt Place Boca will go after its share of corporate meeting business. Durham said, however, that the balance at Hyatt Place Boca would be more 50-50 between corporate and social. “We are going to be very event-oriented”—weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.
One feature that distinguishes Hyatt Place from traditional hotels is the multi-purpose lobby “gallery.” The same employee can check you in, serve you a latte from the Starbucks bar or pour you a glass of wine, all without moving more than a few steps. For now, there’s a casual restaurant as part of the gallery. At the end of January, a Louie Bossi restaurant is scheduled to open. It will front Palmetto Park Road. Construction on that side of the hotel is associated with the restaurant.
There’s been debate about whether downtown Boca is pedestrian-friendly. Durham believes that it is, and said the hotel will tout its proximity to Mizner Park, Sanborn Square, Royal Palm Beach and the historic City Hall. She expects a significant number of vacationing guests who stay at least five nights.
As promised, there will be valet service only at the restaurant, to reduce the traffic impact. Though the hotel opens nicely onto Federal Highway, guests enter from Southeast First Avenue and drive into the parking garage after checking in without having to go back onto the street.
Hyatt Place seems like a fine addition, not just for downtown but for Boca overall. The 200 new rooms could help the city bid for conventions that the Boca Raton Resort & Club couldn’t accommodate on its own. The optimism that accompanied the council’s approval 28 months ago appears to have been justified.
New Delray chief
With Delray Beach having named Fire-Rescue Chief Neal de Jesus acting city manager, the city has made Keith Tomey acting chief. Tomey retired last month after serving for more than 30 years with Miramar’s fire-rescue department in Broward County, rising to chief himself.
De Jesus probably will be the city’s temporary CEO until at least April. The March election will determine a new commission, which will choose a permanent manager. Whenever that happens, the plan is for Tomey to become assistant chief under de Jesus, who would return to his old job. Mayor Cary Glickstein said the two will give the department “highly respected leadership (that) will help us attract, retain and build our leadership bench.”
De Jesus previously was the chief in Coral Gables, where he worked for 31 years. He later was appointed director of fire-rescue services for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, serving for two years until being removed as part of what news reports called a purge carried out by Sheriff Scott Israel after his election in 2012.
It does not worry Glickstein that Tomey is another retiree starting a second career in Delray Beach. De Jesus, Glickstein said, has “re-energized and re-aligned our fire-rescue department. We have a lot of positive momentum that we didn’t want interrupted by Neal’s interim city manager role. Bringing in someone with similar experience but that has no interest in competing for Neal’s spot upon his return means our progress continues in both the fire-rescue department and at City Hall.”
Mayor Susan Haynie is “not certain” how city council discussion will proceed Monday on one of Boca Raton’s most ambitious, creative goals—creating what Haynie calls a “signature” downtown municipal campus.
It peeves Haynie that, though Boca describes itself as a world-class” city, “our city buildings look so sad.” Which they do. City Hall was built in 1964 and screams it, despite an expansion in 1983. The community center, next door to the west, is cramped and dated. So is the police station. The only notable exception is the downtown library, which opened a few years ago.
Boca Raton certainly has the canvas to create something special. The city owns nearly 30 acres in and around Northwest Second Avenue between City Hall and the library. In addition to the properties listed above, there are athletic fields, a skate park, the tennis center, the old library and two vacant lots. According to the property appraiser’s website, the holdings’ combined market value is about $63 million, based on highest and best use.
That use, of course, would be as residential development. In October, the Miami-based Related Group sniffed around, proposing a “public-private partnership” with residential development among the “potential amenities” that would give a “value-added” component to the campus. Haynie, though, doesn’t want private housing as part of any grand plan.
Related probably got interested because a month earlier the council rejected City Manager Leif Ahnell’s recommendation to hire the West Palm Beach-based architecture firm of Song & Associates to plan and design the city campus. Only two firms had responded to the city’s advertisement, and the council didn’t like Song’s approach. Haynie specifically didn’t like West Palm Beach City Hall, which the firm designed.
So the council would need to hire a new planner and architect, or a firm. First, though, Haynie and the council members would need to decide what they want, after which they would need to hear from residents. “This is not about building a Taj Mahal,” Haynie said, “but there could be something spectacular.” It could include, she said, “lots of new downtown green space.”
Timing could work for the city on financing such a project. Later this month, the council will hold its next discussion on selling the western golf course. A sale could bring the city between $40 million and $73 million, which could finance all or part of the campus. In addition, Boca is projected to receive between $5 million and $6 million from the county’s sales-tax increase. As with any golf course money, there are no plans for the tax revenue.
Whatever happened downtown, Haynie said, the city would retain the complex farther north on Second Avenue that houses the sanitation department and the building on Congress Avenue north of Yamato Road that includes the police and fire training areas and the emergency operations center. In fact, the largest indoor gathering space is at the Congress Avenue address. That’s just one reason why a downtown campus isn’t just exciting—it’s essential.
That waterfront ordinance
Also on the council’s Monday workshop agenda is another discussion of how to enforce the ordinance that restricts use of city-owned waterfront land to four public uses. During the first discussion, which came after voters approved the ordinance on Nov. 8, Councilman Robert Weinroth proposed that all current uses on such properties be allowed—“grandfathered,” to use the legal term. He got no support.
New sales office at Penn-Florida
Penn-Florida hasn’t yet sought permits for Via Mizner Phases 2 and 3, but the company soon will have a sales office for the luxury condos whose owners will have privileges at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel that is to be part of the project. The office will be in the building behind the old City Hall that nearly a decade ago housed the Old Towne Tavern restaurant.
Downtown Advisory Committee
For almost 10 years, Boca Raton has been trying to do away with the Downtown Advisory Committee. It was supposed to go out of existence when the city completed the downtown master plan, which hasn’t happened.
So next week, the city council again will choose 12 people to serve one-year terms, after which the plan probably still won’t be finished. Rinse and repeat.
Current member Mary Csar, who’s also director of the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum, said the committee still serves a role as a conduit for suggestions from residents to the council. Example: Though the city keeps adding downtown residents, downtown remains too dark in the evening. “We’ve been hearing this for years,” Csar told me Wednesday. “We hope (the city) will keep up some of the Christmas lights.”
Delray community workshops
On Monday, Delray Beach will hold the second of four community workshops seeking comment as the city updates its comprehensive plan.
This session, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Old School Square field house, will cover economic development, education and “intergovernmental coordination,” such as the relationship between the city and the community redevelopment agency and other local governments. The next two sessions will take place in March and May. Planning and Zoning Director Tim Stillings said the city hopes to finish the update early next year.