Business Spotlight: New play space in Boynton Beach aims to be dogs’ best friend

Hannah Wickins, CEO and founder, gets kisses from her dog Chase, 4 1/2, who is listed as the playground administrator on Dog Activity World’s website. Photos by Rachel O’Hara/The Coastal Star

By Christine Davis

Hannah Wickins operates her dog retreat on this philosophy: A tired dog is a happy dog.
After months of trying to get the drainage system right, the 20,000-square-foot Dog Activity World is open in the former Home Expo space in Boynton Beach. The center features upscale daycare, boarding, grooming, training and a photo studio.
“I tried to see the world through the eyes of a dog,” Wickins said.
Her clients and their owners love it.
Taz, a 7-year-old Lab mix, had a breakthrough day in mid-September. Initially shy, Taz played with another dog that morning. And the center has the video to prove it.
His owner, Michael Jacobson of Ocean Ridge, was so grateful he bought a doggie ice cream for Taz.
Frank Guerrieri of Delray Beach heard about the center from his veterinarian. In September he started to bring his 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Penny, and his 4-month-old Australian shepherd, Tucker, for doggie day care.
“The dogs are worn out when they leave,” Guerrieri said happily.

Carissa Muth gets a tail wagging from Scooby Jack, 1 1/2, with some sweet words while he plays at Dog Activity World, a day care and boarding facility.

Mark Prendergast, owner of a chocolate Chesapeake Bay retriever named Rip, heard about the center from a friend who worked for a vet. The Lantana resident was pleased to see that the center is air-conditioned.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Prendergast, who drops 3-year-old Rip off at 6:30 a.m.
Aspiring to be a Disney World for dogs, Dog Activity World already has boarders. Staffers spend the nights to ensure someone is on-site 24/7.
The day care hours are roughly 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
Dogs need up-to-date vaccines and are tested for their temperament. Instead of grouping them by big and small dogs, caretakers sort them by activity level and age. Portable 4-foot-high fencing creates partitions.
Each dog receives a break-away collar for when the play becomes rough.
For more information, call 340-3740 or visit

Pearlmark Real Estate Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm, has closed on a $44.65 million preferred equity investment to continue development of Atlantic Crossing, a mixed-use project in Delray Beach. The developer is the Edwards Cos., a Columbus, Ohio-based real estate firm. The funds will go toward completing the project, which is to include 82 luxury condos, 261 apartment units, 83,000 square feet of office space and 73,000 square feet of retail along with 444 parking spaces on 9 acres at Atlantic Avenue and Federal Highway.
The investment was originated by Pearlmark and made on behalf of Pearlmark Mezzanine Realty Partners IV, L.P. and an institutional co-investment partner. Previously, a $110 million construction loan was secured from Fifth Third Bank, Huntington Bank and Santander Bank. 

BRH Plaza, LLC bought residential and commercial units of King David Kosher Hotel Condominium & Spa, 2901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, for $11 million last month, according to public records. The registered agent of BRH Plaza is Miami investor Jack Avid. The sellers were Ancon Management Corp., Boca Raton Plaza Holdings Corp., Ancon Transportation Corp., Plaza Beverage Corp., and Boca Raton Plaza Management Corp. 

Gold Standard of Care of Greater Palm Beach County sold a 70-unit senior housing facility, Colonial Assisted Living, at 6026 Old Congress Road, Lake Worth Beach, for $6.155 million in late August. The company, led by Michael Verbitsky, had purchased the property in 2014 for $3.9 million. Records show that the buyer, COPB Estate LLC, secured a loan from Bank Leumi for $6 million. 

Manalapan broker Jeffrey Ray reported hot summer sales in real estate, closing a cool $45 million June through September. The highlight, recorded Sept. 23, was a 2-acre, ocean-to-Intracoastal estate owned by David and Margaret Lumia at 1340 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan, which sold for $27 million to Villa Del Balbianello, a Florida LLC led by Eric Thompson of Towson, Maryland. In 2008, the Lumias bought the property for $10.25 million.
The spa-like luxury compound includes a 24,054-square-foot Mediterranean-style main estate and a four-bedroom tennis pavilion with 5,306 square feet. Amenities include a large dock, tennis courts, a 30-by-50-foot infinity-edge seaside pool, a rock waterfall, and a loggia with a fire pit. Ray represented the Lumias, and Whitney McGurk and Liza Pulitzer of Brown Harris Stevens represented the buyer.
Two more September closings involved the Lumias. Recorded on Sept. 24, David Lumia paid $4,932,500 for a waterfront home at 501 S. Atlantic Drive on Hypoluxo Island, buying it from the Octavia Neptune Revocable Trust. Ray represented David Lumia, and the listing agents were Jack Elkins and Bunny Hiatt of William Raveis South Florida.
And recorded on Sept. 10, Margaret Lumia, represented by Ray, bought a six-bedroom house at 1003 Rhodes Villa Ave. on the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach for $5,617,500. The seller was Michael Walsh, who was represented by Nick Malinosky and Randy Ely of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Starting off Ray’s summer closings, a 3,376-square-foot, completely renovated condominium in Villa Nova, 3505 S. Ocean Blvd., 10-N, Highland Beach, closed June 28 for $1.6 million. Ray represented the buyer, John Gvodas Jr. Scot Karp, an agent with Premier Estate Properties, represented the sellers, Raj and Maureen Marken. Both agents said this represented a record-breaking sale for the boutique, 24-unit oceanfront complex.

Developer Robert Fessler sold a waterfront estate at 3777 N. Ocean Blvd., Gulf Stream, to Maryland car dealer Jack Antwerpen and his wife, Dolores, for $18.5 million on Sept. 9.
Fessler paid $7.6 million for the house in 2017 and then renovated it with Palm Beach builder Fair Dinkum and Smith and Moore architects. Antwerpen owns Antwerpen Auto Group, a group of 13 dealerships in Maryland, according to its website. The couple financed the Gulf Stream deal with a $13,875,000 loan from Toyota Financial Consumer Solutions.
Candace Friis of the Corcoran Group and Helene Jefferson of Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty were the listing agents. Christy Larrimore of Engel & Völkers Delray Beach represented the buyers.

Executives Curtis Watkins, Jennifer Wynne, Joseph Marzilli and Stanley Clark — tied to two West Palm Beach-based trucking companies, CGW Transportation and Goodrich LLC — bought the 12,774-square-foot waterfront estate at 300 E. Key Palm Road in the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, Boca Raton, for $12,105,000 on Aug. 30.
Previous owners Doris and Neil Gillman bought the home in 2017 for $12.4 million.
David Roberts, with Royal Palm Properties, represented the seller. Jonathan Postma, with Coldwell Banker, represented the buyer.

Another waterfront property listed by David Roberts, at 324 E. Coconut Palm Road in the Royal Palm club, sold for $6,175,000 on Sept. 16. The sellers were Gary and Videl Rack, and the new owners are Michael and Michelle Hagerty. Gary Rack, who owns Racks Fishhouse & Oyster Bar in Delray Beach, bought the property in 1998 for $1.45 million. Michelle Hagerty’s family owned White Rock Distilleries. Earlier this year, she and her husband purchased an adjacent home at 312 E. Coconut Palm Road for $12.5 million. The Hagertys were represented by J.P. DiMisa with Douglas Elliman of Boca Raton.

Atlantis resident Amy Snook has won election as the Women’s Council of Realtors president-elect for Florida for 2020. Snook is a partner in the All About Florida Homes team of Lang Realty, along with co-partner Noreen Payne of Delray Beach. She has been practicing real estate and title insurance for 17 years and is the Florida state secretary for Women’s Council of Realtors. Snook is also a director of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale, and a director of Florida Realtors. 

Michelle Jackson, business development manager of Get Dry Inc., won the Boynton Beach Professionals’ first recognition award, which will be given out on a monthly basis. “This is a new award created to honor the member who has done the most for the group and the Boynton Beach community,” said John Campanola, chairman of Boynton Beach Professionals. “Michelle has been tirelessly working to promote the group and all of its members.” 

Nancy Flinn of Delray Beach has joined the board of directors of Community Caring Center of Palm Beach County. In recent years, she served on the boards of directors of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, Arts Garage in Delray Beach, Symphonia of Boca Raton, and the Villas of Ocean Ridge.

The Institute for Regional Conservation received a $10,000 community impact grant from New York Life in support of its Restoring the Gold Coast program, which aims to create community partnerships to teach about environmental advocacy to protect and restore coastal dunes.
The community impact grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations that are championed by New York Life agents and employees. John Campanola, an agent with New York Life’s South Florida general office in Sunrise, has been a volunteer with the Institute for Regional Conservation for more than five years and serves on its board of directors.

TooJay’s Deli was selected as a winner of the 2019 Restaurant Neighbor Award from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for the second consecutive year in recognition of its efforts on behalf of Feeding Florida to end hunger in Florida.
“This honor means so much to the entire TooJay’s team who go above and beyond to raise funds for Feeding Florida,” said Max Piet, president and CEO of TooJay’s and board member for Feeding South Florida. “It’s never been more important to us to rally behind the state’s leading organization in the fight to end hunger.”
And when he says above and beyond, he means it. At one point in one of TooJay’s fundraising campaigns, Piet raised the stakes on World Kindness Day and climbed onto the roof of the company’s Lake Worth Beach restaurant, refusing to come down until $10,000 was raised to help Feeding Florida stock its pantries. The fundraising surpassed $14,000.

The Boca Chamber Gala, set for Oct. 26 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, will thank its outgoing chair, Susan Saturday of BBX Capital Corp., and welcome its 2020 incoming chairman of the board of directors, Michael Daszkal.
He co-founded the accounting firm Daszkal Bolton in 1992, which has grown from a two-person outfit to a three-office firm that employs 140 people. He serves as a managing partner and as a member of the executive committee.
The gala is open to the public, and tickets ($250) may be purchased at

Place of Hope at the Leighan and David Rinker Campus will recognize Boca Raton-based National Council on Compensation Insurance Holdings Inc., as its 2019 Jay DiPietro Hero of Hope at the seventh annual Hope Bash Boca, presented by the Coulombe Family Foundation. The gala will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Boca West Country Club, 20583 Boca West Drive, Boca Raton. Tickets are $300 each and may be purchased at

People with licenses suspended for non-payment can get back on the road thanks to a special program and a day set aside by the Office of the Clerk and Comptroller, Palm Beach County. On Oct. 19, the clerk’s office is authorized to waive collection agency fees for people who pay off their court obligations in full or sign up for a monthly payment plan.
Florida law requires the clerk’s office to turn over unpaid tickets and other outstanding court fines and fees to an outside collection agency if the debt is not paid within 90 days of the due date.
Collection agency surcharges will be waived during Operation Green Light for overdue traffic tickets or criminal court obligations in Palm Beach County. For a driver with a $206 ticket for going 10-14 mph over the speed limit, that amounts to a savings of as much as $91.60.
All four of the clerk’s courthouse locations will be open for Operation Green Light, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are:
• Main Courthouse, 205 N. Dixie Highway, Room 2.23, West Palm Beach
• North County Courthouse, 3188 PGA Blvd., Room 1203, Palm Beach Gardens
• South County Courthouse, 200 W. Atlantic Ave., Room 1S-124, Delray Beach
• West County Courthouse, 2950 State Road 15, Room S-100, Belle Glade.
Payments will be accepted by cash, check, money order and credit card. A 3.5% service fee will be applied to all credit card payments.
For people who pay their debts or go on a monthly payment plan, their suspended driver’s licenses will be reinstated in most cases. To learn more about Operation Green Light, visit

Jane Smith contributed to this column.

Send business news to Christine Davis at


A September story about the Sail Inn, a Delray Beach bar, should have said that (l-r) Michael Holzheid now owns both the property and the bar, and that longtime bartender Bastian Raams is now the general manager. Holzheid is interested in historical research on the property and is eager for residents to stop by and share photos and information about the early years of the bar. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

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