The Coastal Star

Business Spotlight: Driftwood hosts displaced families for Bahamian feast

About 130 Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian were welcomed by (l-r) chef Brandon Mervil; Jimmy Everett and his wife, Ilia Gonzalez, the Driftwood owners; public relations specialist Sandy Collier; chef Christina Dixon Wells, and volunteer cook Jerusha Terry. Photo provided

By Christine Davis 

The dinner menu at Driftwood restaurant in Boynton Beach features entrees such as grilled octopus, fried calamari, swordfish, smoked short ribs and burgers.
On a Sunday evening in early October, however, the menu consisted solely of popular Bahamian fare. That’s because the restaurant closed to the public for a special event — free dinner and drinks for displaced residents of the archipelago who are living for now in South Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction.
Jimmy Everett, Driftwood’s chef/co-owner, said a mutual friend of his and public relations specialist Sandy Collier put them together to stage the event. Collier — a Bahamas native — arranged for transportation to bring many of the families to the restaurant.
“Sunday dinners are big in the Bahamas,” Collier said. “I wanted the hurricane victims here to be able to enjoy an authentic Bahamian meal.  Many of them are living in hotels and don’t have a place to prepare a typical Bahamian dish for their families.” It was all to give the evacuees a sense of normalcy, Collier said.
“In any home on a Sunday in the Bahamas, you can get a plate of food from family, friends and even strangers.”
About 130 people attended the dinner. Ilia Gonzalez, Everett’s wife and Driftwood’s manager/co-owner, kept an eye on families’ children as they drew pictures with chalk outside and played musical chairs in the parking lot while their parents relaxed.
Collier and three other chefs for the day set up in the Driftwood kitchen. They prepared conch fritters, steamed conch, baked, steamed and barbecue chicken, Bahamian peas and rice, crab and conch salads, macaroni and cheese coleslaw and more.
A lot of people and companies helped make it happen.
Vanilla Ice, for example, contributed $1,000, and the Buzz Agency, a Palm Beach public relations firm, gave $500 and provided publicity, Everett said. That enabled Driftwood’s staffers to earn what they typically would on a Sunday night as they served the diners.
And Breakthru Beverage Group donated a case of rum for rum punch drinks, plus red and white wine. Driftwood provided the beer.
A duo that usually entertains at Driftwood on Sunday nights provided music once again, only this time for free.
Everett said he probably didn’t break even, but he sounded unconcerned. “You’re looking at these people as guests in your home,” he said. “A lot of these people hadn’t eaten in a restaurant for years.”
As the event was winding down and food, drinks and musical instruments were being put away, one last family showed up. They too were served and serenaded.
“That was one of those things that was really special,” Everett said.

New York City-based Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers expanded its Florida operations in October, adding two auction professionals. Furniture and decorative arts specialist Sebastian Clarke was appointed senior vice president, and his wife, jewelry specialist Katherine Van Dell, was appointed vice president.
They join Doyle’s director of Florida operations, Collin Albertsson, a silver specialist and senior vice president. All three reside in Florida.
Clarke organized Doyle’s auctions of English and Continental furniture and decorative arts, provided estate appraisals, and served as an auctioneer for the firm. He sits on the board of directors of the Appraisers Association of America and is a certified member of the association. He also is a featured appraiser on the PBS television series Antiques Roadshow and is a charity auctioneer.
Van Dell is a member of the American Society of Jewelry Historians and a candidate for the graduate gemologist degree of the Gemological Institute of America. She is a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow.
Doyle has auctioned property from prominent estates and collections from Florida, including the estate of Lady Sarah Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, which featured important French furniture collected by her grandmother, heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, who was a resident of Manalapan. Doyle also auctioned property from the estates of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Barbara Wainscott, society columnist Aileen Mehle, and Wynant D. Vanderpoel.
Doyle’s landmark sale of Chinese porcelain from the F. Gordon Morrill Collection of Delray Beach drew affluent Chinese collectors, driving the sale total past $12 million.
Doyle, which was founded in 1962, holds more than 70 sales each year. Doyle’s network of regional offices and representatives includes Beverly Hills, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and Doyle will shortly open a regional office building in South Florida.
To reach the Florida office, call 322-6795 or email doylefl@doyle.com.

Collier Car Clubs, a membership garage for car collectors, will open a club in Delray Beach. The 50,000-square-foot facility, which is scheduled to open this spring, will be at 777 S. Congress Ave., the former location of ABC Carpet & Home. When complete, Collier Car Clubs will comprise a climate-controlled space for 240 cars; a co-working space with lifts, community tools and support staff; and a planning area and meeting space. The concept of membership garages is an enterprise for Parker and Miles Collier, founders of the Revs Institute museum and library in Naples.

Drive Shack, a new one-shop-stop golf and entertainment venue, opened in October next to Palm Beach International Airport at 1710 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach. The three-story venue offers a driving range with 96 all-weather bays, and other amenities include more than 300 TVs, augmented-reality golf games, arcade games, rooftop terrace, bars and a restaurant. Golfers can use free TaylorMade clubs or rent premium TaylorMade clubs. The West Palm Beach Drive Shack is the company’s fourth location, after Orlando, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia.
Drive Shack hours are 9 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Pricing ranges from $25 to $45 per hour, based on the time of day. 
Drive Shack’s sister company, American Golf, manages traditional golf courses across the country.

Town Center at Boca Raton shows a list on its website of new retailers that have recently opened or will soon open in the mall. An Australian jewelry shop chain, Lovisa, opened in a 70-square-foot bay near Saks Fifth Avenue. Candid, a dental aligner startup, opened in an 1,800-square-foot studio near the Cafes at Boca. Northfleet, a handbag store, opened near Bloomingdale’s. Charley’s Philly Steaks opened in the Cafes at Boca, and Wetzel’s Pretzels is now open near Center Court.
In October, the Hope & Henry clothing store opened in the Nordstrom wing, and the Lego Store opened between Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Retailers that will soon open include Cariloha, a shop that sells bedding, clothes, bath goods and accessories; Joseph’s Classic Market; La Boulangerie Boul’Mich bakery; Piercing Pagoda; Rex Baron restaurant; and Tempur-Pedic mattresses.
There’s a new play area, and Santa is coming. To see the complete list of the mall’s stores and restaurants, visit www.simon.com/mall/town-center-at-boca-raton/stores.

Shops in downtown Delray Beach, all decked out for the holidays, will offer some special holiday events Nov. 28 through Jan. 1. Check out Black Friday on Nov. 29 and Shop Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30 for shopping and giveaways.
Also coming are the 100-foot Christmas tree, holiday window-decorating contest, annual art festival, boat parade, caroling, holiday parade, menorah lighting, and New Year’s Eve fireworks. For the schedule, visit www.DowntownDelrayBeach.com/Holidays.


Donald and Peyton

Hair stylist and salon owner Lauren Donald of Delray Beach and philanthropist Julie Peyton of Boca Raton developed Under the Sun hair care products, with the intention of donating a percentage of its sales to local charities. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Palm Beach County is the most recent beneficiary. To find a store or purchase the Under the Sun hair care line, visit www.alwaysunderthesun.com or call 855-888-4247. A percentage of the sales will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for its 65 Roses Evening on the Ave event on Nov. 15 at Old School Square.

A boutique collection of 66 luxury condominium residences, 111 First Delray Beach, at 111 SE First Ave., is ready for occupancy.
The five-story condominium development, with two- and three-bedroom units, is already more than 75% sold, with only 16 units remaining. SOFA Partners, the developer, is led by two father-son teams, Manuel and Felipe Vergara, and Rafael and Daniel Rincon. The SOFA Partners team also includes George Ligeti of The Greenfield Group and Paul Kilgallon of Mainstreet Capital Partners.
One Sotheby’s International Realty Development Marketing is handling sales, with the sales center at 12 SE First Ave., suite No. 102. For more information, visit https://111firstdelray.com or call 501-0818.

Atlantic Crossing, the $300 million mixed-use development on track to begin vertical construction by year’s end in Delray Beach, signed two retail tenants and an office space tenant. Chico’s, a women’s retail chain, is signed for a 3,150-square-foot space along Atlantic Avenue. Chicago-based The Hampton Social restaurant will open in 8,677 square feet of space. Merrill Lynch will occupy the entire 20,000-square-foot third floor of one of Atlantic Crossing’s office buildings.
Atlantic Crossing, a development of the Edwards Cos., will have about 73,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space upon completion. 

National Realty Investment Advisors and U.S. Construction closed on a $73 million loan in October from CIM Group for Ocean Delray, a luxury condominium project at 1901 S. Ocean Blvd. Cushman & Wakefield arranged the construction financing. NRIA’s general contracting partner, U.S. Construction, has begun site prep and expects construction to commence in mid-November.

Branch Banking & Trust Co. provided a $22.67 million mortgage in October to PHG Delray Beach, an affiliate of Atlanta-based Peachtree Hotel Group, to build a Hampton Inn by Hilton in downtown Delray Beach. The hotel will be sited on 1.19 acres at 200 and 234 NE Fifth Ave., plus 401 NE Second St. Currently, the property has two small office buildings.  The developer acquired the land for $4.5 million in November 2018 and $2.4 million in January. Peachtree Hotel Group managing principal Jatin Desai has said in news articles that the company is working with the city for approval.

TMT Properties, a company headquartered in Coral Springs, bought two 30,000-square-foot Class B office properties at 190 and 200 Congress Park Drive, Delray Beach, for $10.1 million on Oct. 1. The seller was Parkview Properties.
Watershed Treatment Programs, which occupies about 20,000 square feet and is one of the largest tenants at the office buildings, recently announced that it is laying off more than 200 employees and will liquidate its assets. But Watershed is still paying rent as it winds down its operations, said Joseph Maas, TMT Properties general manager.
“We knew going into the deal that they were going to downsize to a smaller space, so the pricing per-square-foot that we were able to negotiate reflects that. Otherwise the price would have been higher.”
Other tenants are medical firms, a walk-in clinic, law firms and accounting firms, Maas said.
While TMT plans to make some minor aesthetic changes, it does not expect to make major renovations.
In September 2018, TMT purchased the office property at 220 Congress Park Drive for $11.4 million. Maas said the most recent acquisition means the firm will take over management of the Congress Park Association.
“There’s so much change happening in Delray Beach, which is the new hot spot, and with all the redevelopment going on nearby, we were finding a lot of traffic,” Maas said. “These buildings met our profile, and we like the area.”

Robert Sheetz sold a waterfront estate at 133 W. Coconut Palm Road in the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton for $11.45 million on Oct. 7. The buyer was the Trust of 133 W. Coconut Trust, with William Mark Lanier, Becky Lanier and Kevin Dale Roberts listed as the trustees.
The 10,967-square-foot, six-bedroom home, built by Wietsma Lippolis Construction in 2019, has 158 feet of water frontage. Sheetz purchased the property in October 2016 for $3 million to build the home. David W. Roberts with Royal Palm Properties represented the seller in the deal, while Eric Levy of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty represented the buyer.

Joseph and Orla Imbesi sold their Manalapan home at 1675 Lands End Road for $6.1 million to Marilyn Flint, David Fischer and Zachary Fischer on Oct. 16. Joseph Imbesi sold the Bal Harbour Club in Miami-Dade County to an Argentine developer in 2012 for $220 million, a deal that made way for the Oceana Bal Harbour condo tower. The Imbesis bought the Manalapan property for $5 million in December 2012. Pascal Liguori and Tony Liguori of Premier Estate Properties represented the sellers, and Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate represented the buyers.

The board of directors of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce selected Stephanie Immelman as the organization’s next chief executive officer. The choice was made after the search committee considered the qualifications and experience of more than 240 applicants. Immelman was formerly executive director of the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative. She has held senior marketing positions at Continental Airlines and AT&T and has worked in the corporate finance department of Global Crossing, focusing on international mergers and acquisitions. 

Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties invites residents to come together on Nov. 13 in small-group mealtime conversations to explore ideas on how to cultivate a stronger community during “On the Table.” This is the second year the Community Foundation will participate in this civic engagement initiative at venues throughout the counties.
New this year, local youth will be encouraged to join in the discussions. At the conclusion of the meals, participants will be encouraged to share their feedback via an online survey.
The Community Foundation again will share the results with the community, government officials, community leaders and nonprofits to help them determine how to best advance some of the ideas and solutions generated.
For more information or to sign up to participate as a host or a guest, visit www.onthetablefl.com.

The Boca Real Estate Investment Club will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 for the last time in 2019. The meeting will be at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate, 2600 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton. It is free for the club’s members to attend, and $15 for non-members. For more information, visit www.BocaRealEstateClub.com.

The Boca Chamber will celebrate its annual Holiday Party & Auction at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center. Money raised will support the Chamber’s programs. To register, visit https://one.bidpal.net/bocachamberholidayauction/welcome.

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival’s annual poetry contest for high school students runs through Dec. 1 in partnership with Old School Square.
Public or private high school students in the county can each submit one original poem (30 lines maximum) for consideration. Poems should be submitted to PBPF1@aol.com.
For contest rules, visit www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
The winning poet will receive $200 and a pair of tickets to the Friday Night Poetry Reading on Jan. 24, featuring 2018 NAACP Image Award winner and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient Patricia Smith, the festival’s 2020 poet-at-large.
The four runners-up will each receive $100. The judge will once again be Jeff Morgan of Lynn University’s Department of English in Boca Raton.

Larry Keller and Jan Norris contributed to this report.
Send business news to Christine Davis at cdavis9797@gmail.com. 

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