PB Historic Building Gets New Owner And Makeover

The historic Comeau Building in downtown West Palm Beach is getting a makeover after a tumultuous year that included a failed hotel project and foreclosure.
The new owners, a joint venture between Palm Beach Gardens-based AW Property Co., formerly Applefield/Waxman, and Five Mile Capital Partners will pump about $2 million in initial capital and tenant improvements into renovating and modernizing the 10-story building.
Finished in 1925, the building at 319 Clematis St. is named after 1920s boom-time entrepreneur Alfred J. Comeau.
Brian Waxman, co-founder of AW Property and its managing director, said the renovation should begin this summer and will include an upgraded security system, high-speed Internet and restoration of the building’s airy arcade.
“It’s a classic building and a piece of Palm Beach County history,” Waxman said. “From the waterfront to city hall, the downtown renaissance will be complete with the revival of this legendary property.”
Last year, the West Palm Beach City Commission refused to finance a $50 million plan to turn the Comeau into a boutique-style hotel. The failed project pushed the property into foreclosure and it was repossessed by the lender at a foreclosure auction in May 2010 for $4.5 million.
Five Mile Capital Partners, based in Stamford, Conn., was the owner of the debt, taking title to the building through a company called Comeau Spe LLC.
In 2008, the building was added to the West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996.
Waxman said plans to restore the arcade include bringing in 1920s artwork and making the area available for cocktail parties and receptions.
The building is about 20 percent occupied. Current tenants will be able to stay in the building during renovation. Waxman said there are already deals in the works for a restaurant on the ground floor and two stores.
The office suites will range from 150 to 8,000 square feet.
Source: Palm Beach Post



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