By Jane Smith
The iPic luxury theater owner took on a joint venture developer partner back in May but never announced it. Some city leaders say the partnership makes sense because iPic is a theater owner and not a mixed-use developer. Others see it as part of the secrecy that has dogged the project since December 2013.
“As this project will be logistically difficult for an experienced developer, I was pleased to learn iPic had partnered with an experienced urban, infill developer to execute the approved plan,” said Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.
“Those that are surprised by this either don’t understand the construction and development business or the complexities of this project,” he said.
When complete in 2019, the iPic complex will have 497 luxury seats in eight screening rooms with a total of 44,979 square feet and a 42,446-square-foot office building where iPic has agreed to move its corporate headquarters and occupy 20,000 square feet for five years.
The development also will include 7,847 square feet of retail space and a multilevel garage with 326 spaces, providing a minimum of 90 public spaces. The project sits just south of Atlantic Avenue, between Southeast Fourth and Fifth avenues.
“I can’t wait to go to the movies in my own town,” Glickstein said.
Samuels & Associates, based in Boston, is iPic’s developer partner. Samuels’ website lists examples of its current projects, including the Van Ness complex in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston. The complex has 172 luxury apartments, 237,000 square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of retail space, including a City Target store.
That iPic teamed with Samuels without mentioning the plan irritated Delray Beach resident James Quillian.
He and his wife own two units in a three-building co-op project immediately south of the new iPic. The Quillians don’t live there, but they own the units as investments.
The Quillians along with the other co-op owners met with a Butters Construction representative and someone from iPic, just after the property was purchased from Delray’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
“We wanted a barrier or some kind of wall to prevent construction workers from walking through our property,” Quillian said.
The co-op owners thought they had a deal, until the demolition started. When they returned, they were told about the joint venture and a new person to contact.
“Our feelings are hurt,” Quillian said. “They played us like they played the city and the CRA.”
The former CRA executive director insisted that nearby property owners did not have to be notified of the deal.
In December 2013, iPic agreed to pay $3.6 million to the CRA for 1.6 acres. The theater owner paid $2.3 million for an additional .14 acre nearby, called the Martini property. The sale was finalized in April.
Public offering planned
iPic plans to do an initial public offering this fall to raise $30 million to $50 million.
The luxury theater company operates 121 screens in 10 states with five theaters under construction.
iPic’s largest shareholders include Australia’s largest publicly traded entertainment company, Village Roadshow, and the Retirement Systems of Alabama, according to the Banq brokerage website.