The following is an excerpt from the original article by Alexandra Clough of the Palm Beach Post, and features comments from Bruce Corn, Managing Director of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s Retail Services Group.
Retail giant Amazon plans to open an Amazon Fresh grocery store in Boynton Beach, marking the company’s second planned Palm Beach County location, three retail sources said.
Other national retailers are scouting for stores, too, the retail brokers said, as new and existing companies rush to lock down space in the county’s go-go real estate market.
The initial business shut down at the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago might have paused the retail market in Palm Beach County, but the pandemic hasn’t stopped the industry. In fact, national retailers are either taking over vacant stores in Palm Beach County that couldn’t survive COVID-19 shutdowns or filling new shopping centers under construction.
For shoppers, this means a slate of new-to-market stores coming to the county.
In Boynton Beach, Amazon Fresh is taking a 36,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Stein Mart in the Oakwood Square Shopping Center at 398 N. Congress Avenue. Stein Mart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020 and closed all 280 stores nationwide.
Amazon is leasing Oakwood Square for its tech-heavy grocery store, the second Amazon Fresh planned in Palm Beach County. Last year, the Palm Beach Post disclosed that Amazon Fresh was opening a store at a new shopping center, the Uptown Boca mixed-use complex in suburban Boca Raton, marking the company’s first foray in the Southeast U.S.
Bruce Corn, managing director of the retail services group at brokerage NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, expects Amazon Fresh’s prepared foods section to be popular with apartment or condominium dwellers living in complexes in and around Congress Avenue. The Amazon Fresh store “will give shoppers another option to broaden their weekly shopping,” Corn said.
It’s not hard to understand why retail is enjoying a revival in Palm Beach County.
These new retailers are entering the market as existing big box retailers rebound and shoppers return to stores. “We’re not seeing the death of big box stores from the pandemic. Not at all,” Corn said.