By Christine Davis
The Florida Library Association has named the Boynton Beach City Library the 2022 Library of the Year. The designation recognizes the library and its staff for tackling unavoidable change by creating innovative programs for the community.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by our professional peers and to be reassured that our library is providing innovative and life-changing programming to the citizens of Boynton Beach,” said Craig Clark, library director. “We have a talented and creative team here at the Boynton Beach City Library, and I am very proud of them.”
To sign up for a library card or to learn more about library resources and programs, call 561-742-6390 or visit boyntonlibrary.org.
Boynton Beach City Library archivist Georgen Charnes received the Award of Excellence from the Boynton Beach Historical Society for her service and dedication to the library’s local history archives, which include photographs, personal papers, scrapbooks, small organizational records and newspapers.
When Charnes began as archivist at the library in early 2019, most of the collection was in storage until the new library opened at 100 E. Ocean Ave. in the summer of 2020. She focused on outreach through the internet.
“Our mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the heritage of the people of our region,” Charnes said. “Over the last couple of years we have focused on getting our materials online, where we have collection descriptions, some newspapers digitized, some photographs and oral histories available.”
Charnes has also helped to “iron out a partnership with the Historical Society,” which she says is “beneficial to the city, the library, the Historical Society and to local people.”
An archivist for more than 30 years, Charnes previously worked at the Nantucket Historical Association. She became interested in archival work during studies toward her library science master’s degree at the University of Kentucky.
“I love handling historical material and I love the stories that each diary, letter and scrapbook represent,” she said. “It’s all that’s left of a person’s life and finding out about them involves some detective work. It’s important to me that people learn about history, because if we don’t, we are doomed to repeat it.”
To view the collection or to donate archival material, contact Charnes at www.boynton-beach.org/library/archives-faq using the “Contact the Archivist” link.
Stacey Hallberg has been appointed senior managing director of the Boca Raton and Delray Beach offices of Northern Trust. Hallberg most recently served as managing director of the Delray Beach office.
“Stacey has a proven track record leading diverse and high-performing teams, and we look forward to her leadership and more accomplishments in south Palm Beach County,” said Mike Bracci, president of Northern Trust’s East Florida Region.
Hallberg, a certified financial planner, received her B.S. at the University of Florida. She serves on the board of directors for the Achievement Centers for Children and Families and previously served on leadership boards at Bethesda Hospital Foundation, Delray Beach Historical Society, Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Old School Square and Bethesda Corporate Partners.
Delray Beach resident Ben Baffer, an operations and project management expert with 34 years of experience in the building industry, has returned to Kaufman Lynn Construction as senior vice president.
Previously, Baffer worked with Kaufman Lynn Construction for more than 11 years, beginning as a senior project manager and later serving as vice president of operations. He left the company in 2019 to serve as a senior vice president at Plaza Construction Co. in Miami.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to Kaufman Lynn Construction in this new leadership role,” Baffer said. “I look forward to collaborating with such a talented team … and it’s great to be back in the Delray Beach community.”
Baffer has lived in Delray Beach with his family for the past 21 years, and serves as chairman of the Delray Beach Historic Preservation Board.
Attorney Erin L. Deady, a certified land planner in Delray Beach, recently assisted local city and county governments in securing funding for six planning awards totaling $1,133,125 from the state of Florida by having their grant projects approved. The grants were announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In Southeast Florida, they include three vulnerability assessment update and expansion plans, for $139,350, $192,475 and $178,100, as well as $75,000 for a natural resources adaptation plan.
The funds “are desperately needed by local governments to plan for the impacts of future flood risk and develop projects adapting to the flooding and sea level impacts from climate change,” Deady said. “These plans are required to develop projects for future funding cycles, so the efforts really start at the planning level first.”
Eau Palm Beach has earned five stars in the annual Forbes Travel Guide for the seventh consecutive year for its hotel and the eighth consecutive year for its spa.
“We are thrilled once again to be recognized with the prestigious Forbes five-star rating for Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in 2022, making us only one of six double-star hotel and spa winners in Florida,” said general manager Tim Nardi.
Four Seasons Palm Beach also was recognized. This marks the 24th consecutive year the Four Seasons has received a five-star designation and the sixth year its spa has earned five stars.
PEBB Enterprises and joint venture partner Banyan Development, both of Boca Raton, paid $37.5 million for a long-term ground leasehold interest position in the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University.
The lease includes seven multi-tenant office buildings with 308,305 square feet at 3600-3998 FAU Blvd., Boca Raton, according to a PEBB Enterprises news release.
According to newspaper reports, the seller is the international sovereign wealth fund Boca R&D Finance, which shares the same address as New York-based Global Securitization Services. The landlord remains the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, which governs the Research Park at FAU.
Avison Young’s Keith O’Donnell listed the portfolio on behalf of the seller and led the off-market transaction.
The Research Park, a regional technology business incubator, allows for companies to collaborate with FAU faculty with the goal to strengthen and diversify Boca Raton’s business community.
“This is a unique opportunity to own and operate prime office space adjacent to the FAU campus,” said PEBB Enterprises President and CEO Ian Weiner. “We continue to target new investment opportunities in Boca Raton, which is underserved from an office supply standpoint.”
Current tenants include American Sugar Refining, Xeriant, Baptist Health Surgery Center, FAU College of Medicine Clinical Skills Simulation Center, Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Sandow Media, GenesisCare and 4ocean.
Miami-based Edgewater Capital Investments purchased a multifamily development site in Boynton Beach for $12 million in a deal that was recorded May 9. The sellers were East Ocean Avenue LLC, 206 Boynton LLC, Boynton Beach Property Holdings LLC, 416 Boynton LLC and First Avenue Boynton LLC.
The 5.1 acres of vacant land at 405 E. Ocean Ave. and 306 SE First Ave. was assembled in multiple transactions from 2013 to 2015 for a total of $2.74 million, and the city gave approval for 371 apartments and 15,757 square feet of commercial space.
Construction of the Villages at East Ocean Avenue did not move forward. Now, under Edgewater, the first phase of the project is scheduled to break ground within a year at 405 E. Ocean Ave. and consist of 336 apartments and about 10,000 square feet of retail, with amenities including a pool, fitness center and clubhouse.
Rental rates for homes and apartments have spiked across the nation, and Florida is at the center of the surge, according to a new study from Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University and University of Alabama.
While ranking the 25 most overvalued U.S. rental markets, they found that the first five are all in Florida. And, South Florida heads that list, with renters in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties paying an average $2,832 a month, which is 21.75% above what they should be paying, based on the area’s long-term leasing trends.
Fort Myers is No. 2, with a $2,052 monthly average rent, which is 18.16% above the long-term leasing trend for the area. Tampa (17.08% premium), Sarasota-Bradenton (16.98%) and Port St. Lucie (15.61%) round out the top five.
“Landlords can charge exorbitant rents because if the existing tenants do not accept the new lease terms, other people will accept them quickly. This all points back to a persistent inventory shortage in rental units,” said Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D., an economist in FAU’s College of Business.
Lang Realty, through its community outreach arm Lang Cares, delivered more than 13,000 diapers to several South Florida charities through The Diaper Bank Covering South Florida. “There is a great need for diapers throughout South Florida,” Lang’s Pamela Agran and Amy Snook said in a news release. “Our agents, partners and communities rallied together to help make this substantial donation and our first diaper drive such a success.”
Salt Life, a store that sells sunglasses and accessories, opened in May at Mizner Park, 327 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. The 1,952-square-foot retail store is between Max’s Grille and Blue Mercury.
This new store will be joined by others in the next few months.
New restaurants slated to open include the American Social, Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, Penelope New Orleans Kitchen, Pure Green, Shaker & Pie, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood. Also due to open soon are Liv2100 Aesthetics & Hormones, the Shade Store, and Spirits & Spice.
“We are looking forward to welcoming a diverse roster of new tenants in the coming months that will bring an exciting mix of eateries, hot spots and more to downtown Boca Raton,” said Vicki Baisden, general manager of Mizner Park.
The owners of Ellie’s 50’s Diner in Delray Beach announced their retirement in May — and the sale of the landmark eatery.
Bob and Ellie Smela have owned and run the nostalgia-filled spot for 32 years. They announced the sale of the property on their social media site, but assured diners they have time to visit through mid-July when the diner will close permanently.
There was no immediate word on what’s next for the property at 2410 N. Federal Highway.
The first South Florida Business & Brews, a networking social for community-engaged professionals, planned to kick off June 1 at NOBO Brewing Co., with Boynton Beach Director of Economic Development David Scott.
Periodic meetings will each have a presentation by a community leader, followed by a Q&A.
Business & Brews, launched in South Carolina in 2015, plans to make stops in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Martin counties over the next 12 months. Visit its events page at www.facebook.com/events/1207543203338295.
Jan Norris contributed to this column.
Send business news to Christine Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.