Staff Report

WEST PALM BEACH –  A ceremonial groundbreaking took place on Thursday, March 14 for Palm Beach Outlets.

The redevelopment at the site of the former Palm Beach Mall, 1801 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., in West Palm Beach, is planned to feature approximately 900,000 square feet of state-of-the-art retail, including 80-100 outlet stores, and an adjacent center with national tenants.

The site originally opened in 1967 as the first fully enclosed, climate-controlled mall developed in Florida before competition and other factors contributed to its decline by the 1990s.

The developers who acquired the 80-acre property, New England Development and Eastern Real Estate, promise a dynamic mix including the best names in fashion, and possibly Whole Foods, when Palm Beach Outlets opens in February 2014.

At the groundbreaking, New England Development’s Chairman Stephen Karp and President Steven Fischman, together with Eastern Real Estate principals Brian Kelly and Daniel Doherty, were joined by local dignitaries such West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and City Commissioner Isaac “Ike” Robinson, along with members of the community and representatives of companies working on the redevelopment. 

“This project will serve as a symbol of this area’s rejuvenation and revitalization,” said Muoio. “It has already sparked redevelopment around it, and once open it will provide jobs and increased property tax revenue for the city. This is the latest example of West Palm Beach’s focus on being both open for business, and open to business.”

“We are thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of Palm Beach Outlets with our partners at Eastern Real Estate and with the many people who have helped make this day possible,” Karp said. “I would particularly like to thank Jeri Muoio, mayor of West Palm Beach; the commissioners of the city of West Palm Beach; and the West Palm Beach Planning Board and staff. I would also like to thank the men and women working so hard on this project, including those from the many local companies engaged on this project. Together, we are creating an exciting destination that will serve the shopping needs of local and regional residents while also helping to attract thousands of tourists and visitors to Palm Beach County.”

Kelly, principal of Eastern Real Estate, expressed enthusiasm about progress made since the partners acquired the site in October 2011 with financing from Wells Fargo Bank. “We’re well on our way to making our vision for the redevelopment of this site a reality,” Kelly said. “Once the outlet center opens in February 2014 and the adjacent shopping center opens later that year,” the economic benefits will be substantial: 1,576 full-time employees onsite, 2,426  part-time employees including multiplier effects, and $82  million in wages.” 

A report by Fishkind and Associates, Inc. published in February 2012, the officials said, projected $319 million in total economic activity and $862,000 annual net fiscal benefits to the city after construction is complete.