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Cypress Key development breaks ground in Royal Palm Beach

Boulevard Shoppes at Cypress Key will include restaurants such as Chipotle, Maple Street Biscuit Company and Mission BBQ.

Photo by Palms West Journal.

After decades of planning, negotiations, exchanges and finally construction, a key site along busy Southern Boulevard in Royal Palm Beach is close to being built out.

The Cypress Key development sits on the north side of Southern just east of the Publix shopping center at Forest Hill Boulevard.

It all started with a plan to build the first regional shopping mall in the western communities. Since then, the project has changed to meet the evolving demands of the community.


The Cypress Key of today is very different from the original idea for the property.

The first owner, Peter Maharaj, envisioned a sprawling commercial complex across about 68 acres on the north side of Southern Boulevard just west of the M-1 Canal. In the late 1980s he proposed the Cypress Head Center, which would include the area’s first regional shopping mall plus offices.

But Royal Palm Beach officials balked. The Southern Boulevard corridor wasn’t ready for that kind of commercial use, some council members argued. Maharaj was sent back to the drawing board.

He and his family eventually split off the eastern portion of the 68 acres. From the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, the Cypress Head community of single-family homes was built there.

The western side languished until the early 2000s when the Maharaj family resurrected it with a design that included single-family homes along the north and east sides, town homes through the middle from west to east, and commercial along Southern Boulevard.

Bob Basehart, who now works for Wellington’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department, was the project’s agent. He says the single-family homes were built first to appease neighbors and act as a transition from the single-family communities to the north and east to the higher-density uses to the south.

“Basically, we proposed the commercial be put right up near the road, so there wouldn’t be any parking in front,” he says. “There would just be landscaping to improve the appearance along the State Road 80 corridor. What we wanted to do was create a multifamily development that would have a lot of common space.”

The revived Cypress Key Town Centre came back before the village starting in 2003, with plans for a great lawn in the residential area for events, ultraluxury town homes, walking trails, bike paths, boat dock slips and high-end appliances.

Still, the project faced major challenges: Its sales office opened just a few days before Hurricane Wilma, which was followed by a rapid downturn in the real estate market. When the Great Recession hit, the project stalled again.

Developer K. Hovnanian revived the residential portion in the mid-2010s. Buildings were quickly constructed and units sold. The last piece of the puzzle was the commercial area along Southern.

The residential portion of Cypress Key is Park Central, which includes townhomes and single-family homes built around a large greenspace.

Photo by Palms West Journal.

Assisted Living

While the residential portion of Cypress Key was moving along, Royal Palm Beach officials were looking for ways to bring state-of-the-art assisted living to the village.

Royal Palm Beach’s many seniors wanted to grow old in their hometown but lacked modern facilities where they could do so, Mayor Fred Pinto says.

Royal Palm had set aside a portion of Commons Park for a possible senior facility, but a request for proposals to build at the site returned more questions than answers, Pinto says.

Village officials identified two other sites, including Cypress Key.

Inspired Living at Royal Palm Beach was proposed in 2018, was quickly approved and broke ground in July 2019. The two-story, 106,000-square-foot facility has 104 units: 72 for assisted living and 32 for memory care.

“We’re very happy to have them in the village,” Pinto says.

Inspired Living celebrates its second anniversary in Royal Palm Beach from 4 to 7 p.m. March 29 with a Vegas-style casino night at the facility, 11911 Southern Blvd. The event is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP through the Inspired Living website.

Inspired Living at Royal Palm Beach, the assisted-living facility that is part of Cypress Key, celebrates its second anniversary this month.

Photo by Inspired Living.

Restaurants and Retail

Across the main entrance to the project at Park Central are the Boulevard Shoppes at Cypress Key, with crews set to begin work soon on three buildings with restaurants and retail.

With a prime spot along Southern Boulevard and one of the last undeveloped properties on the north side of the road in Royal Palm Beach, space is leasing quickly.

The building on the far left of Boulevard Shoppes will be a Salon Suites. The middle building will have a Chipotle restaurant with a drive-through, a 2,000-square-foot yet-to-be-leased space and a Mission BBQ. The building on the right will have a Maple Street Biscuit Co. and a roughly 7,000-square-foot spot.

This will be the first Palm Beach County location for the Maple Street Biscuit Co., which is known throughout the South for home-style, fresh cooking. Mission BBQ has one other Palm Beach County location in Boynton Beach.

With Cypress Key close to complete, all eyes will turn to the Tuttle Royale project, which is farther east on Southern Boulevard west of State Road 7. The massive mixed-use development has a major step coming before the Royal Palm Beach Planning and Zoning Commission in April, with the commercial pod set for approval.

It will be another piece in the commercial puzzle along Southern Boulevard — a commercial puzzle that could have started with the original plans for Cypress Head Center in the 1980s.


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