THE PLAZA INN  - 215 BRAZILIZN AVENUE

 

With the vacant property now in foreclosure, the sleek Streamline Moderne-style Plaza Inn at 215 Brazilian, photographed in 2007 a few days before it was demolished by 215 Brazilian Holding LLC. a New York based affiliate of Aby Rosen's RFR Holdings.

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A Real B&b In Palm Beach

May 12, 1991|By ROBERT TOLF, Special to the Sun-Sentinel

Would you believe there`s a B&B in Palm Beach?

Well, a B&B opened last November on Brazilian Avenue, a few minutes from Worth Avenue, the ocean and all the mansions and Mizner magnificence.

What for half a century was known as the Plaza Hotel, a half-hearted Art Deco survivor that had fallen on hard times, was transformed with a considerable amount of dollars (half a million), time and talent into the kind of inn experience that is rare in Florida, and unique in Palm Beach.

The person responsible is a native of New Delhi, Ajit Asrani. On the local scene for a couple of decades as businessman and Realtor, Asrani was the man with the vision. He defined his market, realized the need, and set to work, gutting the 50 rooms, restoring and refurbishing, creating in the process a building that is a joy to behold.

The pleasure is immediate as one enters the small lobby with its single reception desk (desk, not counter and without a computer in sight), its grand piano (entertainment and dancing on the weekends), and small bar tucked charmingly into a corner a step up from the lobby. On weekends, that lobby is a popular gathering spot for inn guests as well as those from the outside, curious to see this elegant addition to town.

Asrani and his staff are willing and eager to show off the various rooms, starting with a corner honeymoon suite and continuing on to other suites and standard rooms, each furnished in an individual style with all kinds of reproductions and originals.

Art Deco fans should book No. 208 with its geometric gallery and general feeling of the 1940s. My favorite is across the hall, suite 207, with its living room  of wicker and its inviting king-size brass bed. The feeling is that of staying in a hotel in the 1920s, if not earlier.

All rooms have private baths, walk-in closets, mini-fridges and individual air conditioning units. Some have king-size four poster beds and sheer mosquito netting veils, others feature tiger-wood mahogany chests and pine armoires concealing television sets. There`s lots of brass, burgundy, greens and handsome wallpaper with stencil-like borders.

Particularly inviting is the breakfast room, an English hunt-scene setting with cozy little tables, fresh flowers, goblets that are definitely not dishwasher proof, and a full-scale, delivered-to-table meal. There are fruit juices, a choice of cereals and a blackboard list of the day`s specialties, all included in the price of the room. The day I made my personal reconaissance, the list included omelets, bacon and eggs and pancakes. The hours of serving are 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

That schedule allows ample time for a morning swim in the adequately-sized pool with adjacent Jacuzzi. Or a stroll to the ocean, one block away. Or up and down the streets with all that expensive real estate. Next door to the Brazilian Court Hotel -- in bankruptcy proceedings but still operating -- the inn is only four blocks from Worth Avenue.

Late in the evening, the pool is also a meeting place for inn guests, and a good many couples find the bubbling Jacuzzi, alongside a little rock garden and waterfall, a romantic  place to rendezvous.  For dinner, there are no fewer than 14 restaurants within walking distance.

They include some of my favorites in the county, for example Renzo`s, tucked into a corner of Via Mizner  in  the  shadow  of the Mizner apartments  across  from  the  great  architect`s Palm Beach office.

Close by is Wilson`s, the home Mizner built and decorated for his brother, the infamous, witty, acerbic Wilson Mizner. Now a restaurant, it seductively captures some of the spirit of the booming Mizner `20s.

Two newcomers complete the quartet of personal bests. Bice -- a spinoff of something special in New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris and Milan -- is a Northern Italian restaurant in an Art Deco setting, a perfect fit for Palm Beach. And there is the revitalized, reborn Ta-boo.

That landmark has never looked better -- and it`s been around for years, ever since an ex-baseball star from Philadelphia first opened the doors in the 1940s. Most recently the old Ta-boo was known as Kiwi -- why I never learned -- but the old veteran has now regained its original name.

Robert Tolf`s tips on small hotels and inns is a monthly feature. Tolf is the Sun-Sentinel`s restaurant critic and the author of five books on country inns. His latest is Florida Weekends: 52 Great Getaways (Clarkson N. Potter/Crown).

IF YOU`RE GOING

The Plaza Inn is easy to find at 215 Brazilian Ave., four blocks north of, and parallel to, Worth Avenue. Room rates range from $60 to $75. Contact The Plaza Inn at 215 Brazilian Ave., Palm Beach, Fla. 33480; telephone, 1-407-832-8666; toll-free 1-800-BED-ANDB; fax is 1-407-835-8776.

Updated: 9:38 a.m. Tuesday, May 13, 2014 |  Posted: 11:50 a.m. Thursday, May 08, 2014

 

On the market for more than three years and green-lighted last month for a new four-unit townhouse complex, a vacant lot at 215 Brazilian Ave. near South County Road has been sold to the project’s developers for $6 million, according to the price recorded with last week’s deed.

The developers shouldn’t have any problem recouping that cost, considering that the townhouses have been priced, pre-construction, at between $6.25 million and $6.75 million each, according to agent Chris Deitz of Fite Shavell & Associates. He was involved in the deal recorded May 1 and is the listing agent for the townhouses.

Broker Steve Hall of Hall Real Estate acted on behalf of the seller, 215 Brazilian Holding, a limited liability company controlled by managers Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs. The deed lists the company with a New York City address.

The deed lists the buyer as Arca 21 LLC of Deerfield Beach, an entity associated in state business records with Arnaldo Cunha Campos, a Brazilian businessman who has a vacation home in Boca Raton.

The project is being developed in a joint partnership between Arca 21 and Capital Development Group International Inc., the latter associated withBrian J. Mylett of Jupiter. The development team includes Mylett, a real estate investor and developer, and Josh McAlees, a Jupiter general contractor with his own firm. The two men have worked together on other South Florida projects, and Mylett also owns Capital 21 Realty, the agency of record for the buyer.

The sale had been in the works since November while the developers awaited project approval from the town, Hall said. He had listed the property in October 2011 for $9.8 million, later reducing the price to $7.495 million.

Late last month, the Architectural Commission approved a much-revised plan for the two-story project, the town’s first new townhouse fourplex in 19 years. Architect Harold J. Smith of Smith and Moore Architects designed the Mediterranean-style project for the lot, which once was the site of the Plaza Inn hotel.

215 Brazilian Holding LLC razed the hotel after acquiring the property in 2007, although courthouse records don’t disclose the amount that changed hands. Rosen had hoped to develop a new hotel-condominium project, Hall said, but the recession derailed those plans.

The developers expect to break ground in July and complete the townhouses by next fall, McAlees said.

“The demand has exceeded our expectations,” McAlees said, attributing buyers’ interest, in part, to “the unavailability of new product in town.”

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