Real estate broker John D. Pinson, immediate past president of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors, said he was unfamiliar with the Frisbie Group’s redevelopment proposal and couldn’t comment on specifics until the plans take shape. But he was optimistic that new beachfront townhouses on Midtown’s Condominium Row would be a marketable addition to the island’s real estate scene.
“I think it’s highly salable,” Pinson said. “I think it will be well thought out and quality construction, and it will match the market.”
Corcoran Group agent Suzanne Frisbie, a Frisbie Group principal, also is president of the Realtors board. She confirmed that townhouses were under consideration for the restaurant site, which is zoned residential and stretches between Gulfstream Road and Hammon Avenue.
No time frame has been released for redeveloping the site. The company is working with an architect and engineers to “develop a critical path schedule” for the project, Frisbie said Tuesday.
The property had been home to a restaurant since the 1920s and was “grandfathered” into the residential district with binding restrictions that it could not alter its footprint under town zoning rules.
But the new owner will be starting from scratch, which allows it to pursue either a townhouse or condominium building, according to the town’s zoning department. Any plans would have to pass muster with the town, including a review by the Architectural Commission.
Before it closed April 2, Charley’s Crab had been in business nearly 40 years in the building, which was previously the longtime home of Wert’s restaurant.
The property was sold by a limited liability partnership associated in courthouse records with Barry, Charles and David Leiwant. The company had owned it since 1992. The property had been in their family prior to that ownership transfer, property records show.
On the north side of the site is a small rental apartment building at 106 Hammon Ave. and, across the street, the much larger Winthrop House condo building.
Run by the Frisbie family, the Frisbie Group’s plans to develop townhouses on speculation echo the Curie Group’s Las Ventanas project next door.
Las Ventanas, which replaced a 13-unit apartment building, is a condominium, although its two-residence layout recalls a townhouse development. Plans for that project generated controversy in 2003 when the Town Council demanded that its developer downscale the project and reduce its residential density.
The Charley’s Crab site measures about three times the size of the Las Ventanas land, property records show.
In late September 2016, a company controlled by Palm Beach homebuilder Zack Ciomek sold his second-floor unit there, addressed as 102 Gulfstream Road, for a recorded $13.9 million. That price set what was at the time an oceanfront condo price record in town. Beverly and George Rawlings of Wellington bought the three-bedroom unit, which has 6,531 square feet of living space, inside and out. They were represented by broker Diane Jenkins of Jenkins Real Estate.
On the upper floor of Las Ventanas, the three-bedroom unit known as 104 Gulfstream Road sold in 2012 for $8 million. It has returned to the market, priced at $16.9 million by broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate, who brokered both sides of the 2012 sale. The unit, with 7,700 total square feet, has an elevator, wine room, library and a two-car garage. The apartment occupies all of the top floor and some of the first floor of the building.
Courthouse records show the Morassutti family trust that owns 104 Gulfstream Road has the same Toronto address as the Morassutti Group, a real estate company. Last week, a company associated with developer Larry Morassutti paid $18.25 million for a four-bedroom landmarked seaside house at 89 Middle Road in a deal handled on both sides by Angle.
Frisbie Group is redeveloping the former Testa’s Restaurant property on Royal Poinciana Way, where it also owns other buildings at the east end of the street. And in October, the Frisbie Group bought an office-and-retail building at 125 Worth Ave. for a recorded $30.7 million. The company has also developed homes in town since the 1990s.