Boca residents and visitors should be able to dig into dishes like seared tuna steaks, Hawaiian ribeyes, salads and other fare when the newest Houston’s restaurant opens in early 2016 on the site of the former Wildflower night club on East Palmetto Park Road, said Mayor Susan Haynie.
Addressing a recent Successful Women in Business luncheon of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, the mayor said she expects “shovels in the ground” by early in this new year. The restaurant should be completed in about 12 months.
The opening will culminate several years of municipal consideration of plans for the reuse of the Wildflower property that abuts the Intracoastal Waterway on the north side of East Palmetto. The city purchased the 2.2-acre parcel for $7.5 million several years ago, anticipating reuse of the land.
When opened, the new Houston’s will be only the second dining location in Boca with immediate water access. The former Bridge Hotel, now renovated and reopened as the Waterstone Resort Hotel at 999 East Camino Real, allows diners to enter from boats.
The Wildflower property, now surrounded by Jersey barriers and chain link fencing, was once the site of the Wildflower night spot, a familiar and popular local watering hole that closed about two decades ago.
The project is moving forward after Hillstone Restaurant Group, the parent company of Houston’s, worked out traffic and parking problems.
Redevelopment of the Wildflower site was the number one priority that came out of City Council goal-setting sessions last spring.
Mayor Haynie, who took office April 1, 2014, looked back at her term during the address to Chamber women. She said development is surging again in Boca Raton after a tough lull during the recession. She said a 225-home complex is being built on the former polo grounds, property that was voluntarily annexed into the city of Boca Raton on request of the developer, Toll Brothers, last year. The houses that range in price from $2.6 million to $4 million, should bring the city $800,000 in annual revenue.
The mayor also pointed out that residences are being built downtown, as is a new boutique Hyatt hotel at Palmetto Park Road and Federal Highway.
The I-95 interchange at Spanish River Boulevard, designed to divert traffic from Glades Road to ease congestion there, is now being built, some 14 years after it was first proposed.
Haynie also noted that Boca Raton will be getting a second Tri-Rail station shortly. The current depot on Yamato Road, she noted, “is the busiest station on the line,” she said. “More people get on here than do in Miami.”
The new $20 million train depot will be constructed on Military Trail where the former King’s Market was located.
On another matter involving transportation, efforts are being made to build a customs facility at Boca Raton Airport so planes can fly in and out from international locations. She said CEOs of local companies “love having the airport here. The CEO of Office Depot says he can leave his office and be on his plane in 10 minutes.”
“Imagine what this will do,” she said, “for Brazilian and South American relations.”
She also cited the success of the city’s Economic Development Initiative which, in the past four years alone, has “created or retained more than 8,000 jobs.”
The city is working with FAU, said the mayor, to create a “college town” along the 20th Street corridor, in the area of the original entrance to the university. A student housing development is already being constructed there.
The area, she noted, is ripe for creation of “student housing, bookstores, bike lanes and a trolley. We want to create a college town in this part of the city which is in need of rehabilitation.”
Source: Pineapple Newspaper