Delray Beach: An authentic and welcoming community for all
By Mayor Cary Glickstein
Delray Beach’s unique sense of place – while ever-changing – offers a quaint, charming and friendly spirit to both those who call it home and those that visit.
Named “America’s Most Fun Small Town” by the Travel Channel, Rand McNally and USA Today and one of the “Happiest Seaside Towns in America” by Coastal Living magazine, Delray Beach is a respite from the crowded, fast-paced and sometimes impersonal world of South Florida.
Delray Beach is a “patchwork of pride” and a place where opportunity belongs to those who embrace it. Our vibrant downtown is a favorite place to work, play, eat and shop, and we’re proud to be one of the region’s top arts and cultural destinations and a preferred place for the next generation of creatives.
We cherish and welcome the opportunity to evolve, as evidenced by the more than $750 million in new office space and retail space, restaurants, residential buildings and hotel units currently under construction and being planned in downtown. And we greatly appreciate the investments along Federal Highway and Linton Boulevard.
Delray Beach is a welcoming place, where people who are new to the area are embraced and neighbors who have grown up here are treasured. It’s also a place where working together is just our way. Whether it’s how we improve our local schools through The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading or how we encourage development along Congress Avenue through a new task force, it’s what we do together that really matters.
So, if you’re seeking a beautiful and friendly place to live, raise your family and grow your business, Delray Beach welcomes you like no other. Come see for yourself.
Mayor of Delray Beach
Welcome to Delray Beach
By Karen Granger
Whether you’re a longtime Floridian, a visiting tourist, a business stakeholder or you’re considering relocating to Delray Beach, we’re delighted you’re here.
Delray Beach’s popularity as an international “hot spot” continues to garner a great deal of attention. As a two-time recipient of the All-America City Award and named “Most Fun Small Town in America” (by the Travel Channel, Rand McNally and USA Today), our city is quite unique.
It’s challenging to describe Delray Beach in one word; people often say it has the charm of a small beach town, yet the sophistication and offerings that much larger cities boast. Not only is our coastal city outlined by a pristine beach with sparkling waters, we are the year-round home for over 300 bustling restaurants, colorful galleries and exceptional boutiques. It’s no wonder Coastal Living recently named Delray Beach on its list of “Happiest Seaside Towns of America.”
Our walkable downtown is drawing young professionals and entrepreneurs of all ages. Creative business leaders appreciate the same lifestyle our tourists do. Imagine having the year-round ability to walk to work (sans coats) and then have the convenience of shops, fitness centers, spas and some of the finest restaurants in the country just steps away. Imagine connecting with other business owners at the corner coffee shop and having easy access to arts and culture. Oh, and one more thing: In Delray Beach, you can dip your toes in the ocean any day of the year!
Our vibrant community hosts many of the region’s outdoor festivals, including The Delray Affair, a 54-year-old tradition showcasing arts and crafts and businesses along beautiful Atlantic Avenue. A newer event, the Wine and Seafood Festival, draws thousands of people to the east side of town. The area continues to expand, offering local residents and visitors a vast array of things to do to the west, north and south of downtown. Our innovation corridor and several new commercial properties provide beautiful office space for those looking to move their businesses to Delray Beach.
If we can be of help to you at the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, give us a call at 561.278.0424, check out our offices and visitors center at 140 NE First Street, connect with us on Facebook or go to delraybeach.com for all the latest event news and information.
President and CEO
Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce
Downtown Delray Beach and Beyond
By Leslie Kraft Burke
Take a walk along Atlantic Avenue in east Delray Beach and you will find one of the most vibrant beachside communities in South Florida. Brimming with locals and tourists alike, with approximately 120 restaurants and bars, 50 retail stores, 30 art galleries and 60 beauty and wellness spas, it’s easy to see why the area is so popular.
The east area of downtown Delray Beach is about to undergo an impressive reawakening with the advent of Atlantic Crossing: a $200 million mixed-use project under development by the joint venture partnership of CDS International Holdings and Edwards Companies.
The project, which is expected to complete its first phase in 2016, will feature 82 luxury condos, 261 high-quality apartments, 83,000 square feet of Class A office space and 76,000 square feet of shops and restaurants in six buildings that are primarily three and four stories.
Atlantic Crossing will bridge downtown, the beach and Veterans Park using green space. All of its parking will be underground, creating an ample and inviting pedestrian experience flowing from Federal and Atlantic highways to Veterans Park, accented by garden paths along scenic walkways, outdoor seating and cascading garden pools. Focused on sustainability, the project will provide the city’s first “green roof” buildings, a living “green wall” and buildings incorporating green building principles.
The economic benefits of Atlantic Crossing, which is estimated to take four years to complete, are key for Delray Beach’s future. The project:
” Introduces Delray Beach’s first Class A office space.
” Adds $2.65 million annually in tax revenues, with a projected $6.1 million to be spent by new Atlantic Crossing residents.
” Adds 1,000 construction jobs ($60 million in annual wages) and 600 permanent jobs ($30 million in annual wages).
There’s also development in the South of Atlantic Area (SOFA), including The Related Group’s SOFA 1 and 2 with 172 units, which is expected to be completed in December. Other mixed-use, residential and office construction projects are outlined in a brochure on downtowndelraybeach.com.
Another project that’s already had a major impact is Delray Marketplace, located further west in Delray Beach right off Florida’s Turnpike. The shopping, dining and entertainment mecca features Frank Entertainment, which has 10 movie screens and 16 lanes of bowling, and plenty of popular retail stores and restaurants, including several by South Florida restaurateur Burt Rapoport. Delray Marketplace also has a community amphitheater. ?
City’s history has roots in 1927 merger
The “Village by the Sea” has come a long way since 1927, when the city of Delray merged with the beach area and became the city of Delray Beach.
Some say the 1930s were Delray Beach’s “golden age of architecture,” when the city ranked 50th in population and 10th in building permits in Florida. In the mid-20th century, homes and buildings in Delray were not very large or pretentious. Although several high-rise condominiums appeared along the Intracoastal Waterway in the 1960s, the cityscape was primarily low-rise, low-density, understated and filled with palm trees.
Growth and changes persisted throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The vibrant social life of the winter months continued, and the wealthy came to see the polo games at Gulfstream Park and attend the Polo Ball in Boca Raton. They also patronized the restaurants on Atlantic Avenue, which even then was known for its culinary delights.
During the 1970s, the city began to spread west. Land used for farming, ranching and hunting was being developed for housing, and the city experienced what some newspaper accounts called “the second boom.” While Delray Beach grew significantly in population in every decade during the 20th century, because it was so small when it was founded, it wasn’t until 1980 that the population exceeded the 30,000 mark.
Many who visit, live and invest in Delray Beach believe it is primed for its third boom. More than 64,000 people now live in the city, which consists of 10,000 businesses. Delray Beach’s downtown, located in the eastern part of the city along Atlantic Avenue east of I-95 and stretching to the beach, has undergone a large-scale renovation. Gentrification is also serving as the catalyst for more development, while the Delray Beach Tennis Center has helped put the Village by the Sea on the international map with events like the April 2004 Davis Cup (USA vs. Sweden), the April 2005 Fed Cup (USA vs. Belgium), the annual Delray Beach International Tennis Championship (ATP Event) and the Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro Celebrity tournament. ?
Source: Delray Beach Historical Society
Delray Beach’s superb quality of life: the arts and recreation
For those who appreciate the arts and top-quality recreation in one cozy place, Delray Beach fits the bill. So it isn’t surprising that home values in the city have risen 14.5 percent over the past year, and are expected to rise another 2.6 percent over the next year, according to Zillow. The median home value in Delray Beach is $186,800 and the median rent price is $1,600 a month.
The Delray Beach Center for the Arts at Old School Square includes the Cornell Museum of Art, the Crest Theatre, the Vintage Gymnasium and the School of Creative Arts, which offers classes and workshops in art, photography and writing, along with open readings. At the theater, you’ll find musicals and plays, dance performances, Broadway cabarets, concerts, comedy shows, film screenings and literary and art lectures, many of which apply to the Cornell Museum’s exhibits. In addition, the center hosts a series of special events, festivals and outdoor concerts.
Venture into the parking garage of Old School Square and you’ll find the Arts Garage, a highly professional, culturally ambitious hub for visual artists, musicians and educators with a transformative spirit for bringing people together to enjoy cultural arts through events and informal meetups.
Delray Beach is also home to the Plumosa School of the Arts, a unique learning environment that provides students with the opportunity to imagine, explore, create and reach their potential in academics, dual language, the arts and citizenship.
Delray Municipal Beach is one of the most accessible and beautiful beaches in South Florida. It was selected by Travel Holiday magazine as the top public beach in the southeastern United States for swimming and one of the top 35 beaches in the country. Sand quality, warm water thanks to the Gulf Stream and calm waves are all attributes that typically set Delray Municipal Beach above many others in the nation.
Tops for Tennis
The city of Delray Beach owns and operates two exceptional tennis facilities. Delray Beach Tennis Center, located in the heart of downtown, is a full-service public facility with 14 clay and six hard courts, all lighted. The site features a pavilion and meeting room for small groups, a pro shop with locker rooms, racket stringing and merchandise, as well as a practice wall. The club offers a wide variety of adult and junior programs, leagues, clinics and camps as well as lessons for all levels, from beginner to experienced.
Delray Beach Swim and Tennis Club is located on Jaeger Drive near the Bucky Dent Baseball School. This site features 24 clay courts, a pro shop with locker rooms, a small group meeting room, merchandise and a swimming pool.
Located on 24 acres, Delray Equestrian Center is a full-service concierge farm offering board, training, lessons and grooming services. With a full-time staff living on the premises, the center caters to all levels of training, from beginners to Olympians. Preparing horses and riders for competition is Delray Equestrian Center’s specialty. ?
Delray Beach Festivals and Events
Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Festival (November 7-8): For its fourth year, the festival produced by the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce moves to a new location at Atlantic Avenue and State Road A1A.
Shop Small Saturday (November): Atlantic Avenue focuses the month of November on small businesses and the holiday deals that are available.
Delray Beach Garlic Festival (January 29-31): At this 17th-annual event, you can enjoy all things garlic with dishes prepared by professional chefs.
Delray’s Fabulous Fashion Week (January; dates TBD): Expect runway shows, designer trunk shows, styling tips, beauty events, shopping and more at this event organized by the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority.
Bacon & Bourbon Festival (March 18-19): Would you like a bacon ice cream sundae? Bourbon and caramel sauce? After a successful inaugural event, expect more local chefs exploring the boundaries of new American cuisine and the farm-to-table movement.
The Delray Affair (April 8-10): The Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce calls this the largest arts and crafts festival in the southeastern United States. It stretches 12 blocks along Atlantic Avenue and will celebrate its 54th year.
Orchid Giveaway (April-May): Held during two weeks in late April/early May, the event is a draw for avid gardeners and more.