WPTV

WPTV NEWS: Holly Meyer Lucas Discusses the Impact of School Zoning in Real Estate Decisions

As reported by Jillian Idle.

JUPITER, Fla. — Palm Beach County School District parents say overcrowding at area schools is a growing concern.

A newly released capacity watch list shows dozens of elementary, middle and high schools are projected to have too many students and not enough space.

“There’s not enough buses and I have to pick her up because they can’t transport all the students,” said parent Sherry Lail.

School buses at Jupiter High School aren’t the only thing being impacted, other students complain of long lunch lines and overcrowded hallways. However, this isn’t the first time the “A” rated school has had these concerns.

“It’s a very good school and there’s reason people are trying to get in here,” said parent Carol Throop.

An area real estate agent, Holly Meyer Lucas says a lot of her clients are picking homes based on the school zoning.

“The families that we are seeing relocate into this area are informed. They know about the schools. They know they are A-rated, and so one of the biggest questions is what does the future look like for northern Palm Beach County schools,” said Meyer Lucas.

Unfortunately, there’s not much information available from the school district on how they plan to address this. Their website shows some of the options include limiting choice programs to in-zone students only, re-registering all of its students including proof-of-residence and potentially creating attendance zone changes.

Ultimately, whatever they decide to do, many hope they will choose to do so sooner rather than later.

“As a Realtor, it puts us in a tough spot because we don’t have a great answer. You know we’ve heard a lot of things about expansion, this is happening, that’s happening, but nothing concrete that we can give homeowners,” said Meyer Lucas.

Click here for more information about capacity numbers.



WPTV NEWS: Holly Meyer Lucas Discusses Sudden Influx of Corporations Moving to Palm Beach County

By: Alanna Quillen

JUPITER, Fla. — Look out Wall Street. Huge financial firms from the northeast are moving en masse to Palm Beach County in search of lower taxes and better weather.

And the moves are spelling out big dollars for the local economy.

“The harder it snows in the higher the taxes the more phone calls we get here,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board .

Smallridge has said over the years, she’s observed financial services companies fleeing to Florida by the droves, due to increasing taxes up north.

“It started in 2013 when New York raised their taxes and begin to tax the wealthy,” she said. “The wealthy turned around and already had second homes here in Palm Beach County and decided that this would be a good place for their operations.”

As taxes continue to go up in the Northeast, the more companies Smallridge said she works within relocating to Palm Beach County.

“There’s nothing else like this surge of CEO’s that are interested in escaping Manhattan, Boston, and Connecticut to come here and enjoy a much better quality of life at a fraction of the cost,” she said.

Smallridge said more than 70 companies have moved here in the last three years. She even started a full-time department in the BDB to sort through requests.

“There are about 20 to 30 more in the pipeline,” she said. “They’re inquiring about this area, sometimes they’ll come and set up a regional operation and then they turn around and move their corporate headquarters here.”

Why move to PBC?

The county's corporate tax rate is 5.5 percent. There’s no corporate income tax on limited partnerships and no state income taxes for individuals.

That’s very competitive when you compare that to the costs in New York and other states around it .

“You’re talking about $140,000 in savings alone in just taxes that you pay in the northeast that you don’t pay here,” said Smallridge.

She added that a domino effect is another explanation for the influx in financial services companies.

“Many companies are watching their peers make the bold move to come to Palm Beach County after being on Wall Street for decades,” she said.

Todd Lazenby, the founding partner of Royal Ascot Partners , offers an interesting perspective on the appeal to Florida. They started the private equity firm 12 years ago in Dallas, Texas — another competitive state with low taxes.

But Lazenby, a Florida native, said he felt drawn to bringing the company to the Sunshine State.

“We settled on Palm Beach County due to the lifestyle it offered, beautiful beaches and waterways, great access to healthcare, pro-business climate, number of wealthy families in close proximity, and most importantly, highly underserved market for private equity and investment banking,” he said.

He said Palm Beach County in particular, has an inviting business climate.

“The school system is very good and steadily improving, the people are warm, friendly, and very open to newcomers, and the financial and tech sectors are just starting to rev-up to serve the continuing growth we see for the foreseeable future,” he said. “The proximity to Dade and Broward Counties allows companies to attract good talent, customers, and clients while eliminating some of the hassles associated with large cities.” 

Impact on real estate, local business

Realtor Holly Meyer Lucas of Meyer Lucas Real Estate is seeing this trend play out in north county areas of Jupiter, Tequesta, and Palm Beach Gardens.

“We’ve seen the most insane influx of people moving to this area, particularly northern Palm Beach County,” she said. “A lot of homebuyers are trying to get in before the start of school so we’ve seen a real pop this summer.”

She says those business leaders are looking to north county for more space and ease of travel.

“We’re uniquely positioned to where 95 and the turnpike meet,” she said. “It’s not overdeveloped. It’s not your parents’ Palm Beach or Boca. People love that we have space.”

Across the county, Brightline and access to three national and international airports is another big appeal to access business needs in Fort Lauderdale/Miami and the rest of the country.

“When we’re working with a relocation situation, it’s not just the person. Now it’s the bigger picture of their business, their employees. So we’re finding them office space, we’re finding them a home, helping them navigate the schools,” said Meyer Lucas.

Marie Antoinette furniture in Tequesta is feeling the benefit as well with a busy of orders to decorate entire new homes this summer.

“New people coming down from the north, which is always good for business,” said Katrina Harden, who helps her family manage the shop. “We’ve felt a lot more people coming into this area.”

Smallridge says the county’s economic benefits go beyond buying homes. The companies are making donations to local charities, sending their children to local private schools and renting out office space.

“They’re leasing our office space so we have a very low vacancy rate,” she said. “There are two or three class a office buildings that are now under construction and soon we will have close to 600,000 square feet of office space.”

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that Florida saw more people move here than any other state last year. Outflows from New York to Florida were the highest in the country at more than 63,000 people.

The BDB expects this trend to continue as taxes continue to go up in the northeast.

“CEOs are saying why not palm beach county and why not Florida?” said Smallridge. “The more and more companies that we’re able to amass here in Palm Beach County, the more the companies will realize that this is a solid business competitive environment.”

WPTV NEWS: Holly Meyer Lucas Discusses the New Aldi in Jupiter West Plaza

JUPITER, Fla. — What once was an empty space in Jupiter is now being filled with new excitement.

The Winn Dixie on Indiantown Road closed about two years ago and has been closed ever since.

But now, a popular new supermarket is filling the void and generating a lot of buzz.

You can see a giant sign hanging outside of the site at Jupiter West Plaza, with the message COMING SOON and the Aldi logo next to it.

Aldi is a German-based supermarket chain specializing in discounted foods and other grocery items.

The company bought nearly more than 45,0000 square feet of space at the old Winn Dixie site and are only using about half of it since Aldi stores typically have a smaller layout. The rest of the space will be subleased, which means even more business opportunities for the area.

Jupiter residents have been talking about the changes for months including Parry Bolognese, a regular at Vinny’s Pizza next door to the site.

“It was a sore eye!” he joked, adding that seeing the vacant Winn Dixie shell was sad but he said he and his wife, who both live just behind the shopping center, will finally have a grocery store to go to without driving through heavy Jupiter traffic.

“They’ve got really good prices and I’m glad they’re coming to this center, they need something like that up here,” he said.

Jupiter real estate advisor Holly Meyer Lucas said this construction is a long time coming.

“This is a growing community. North of Indiantown and especially West Jupiter is extremely hot right now for development. And the cool thing about it is that it will be going into this plaza, that’s filling a hole right now,” she said. “It’s a grocery store replacing a grocery store and Aldi has a fantastic reputation.”

As a mom, a business owner and Jupiter resident herself, she said that the new growth is providing more options for her family and others in a part of town that needs it.

“As a mom, this area, in particular, is kind of limited with the options,” she said. “It kind of messed with a lot of our workflows as moms, because a lot of us went to Winn-Dixie and now we have to cross the light, cross the street and head down to Publix.”

Meyers Lucas explained that real estate search engines and sites incorporate how many grocery stores and other amenities are in the area when giving certain scores to neighborhoods.

“For example, right now we only have Publix and Publix in the global picture of what is available immediately surrounding the homes just north of Indiantown and above Island Way. So having Aldi is fantastic to adding to the valuation of homes,” she said. “This has been kind of a hole for the last two years and as a realtor, it’s been difficult for us to set the narrative of what this area looks like.”

Aldi told WPTV in a statement that the store will be opening very soon.

"ALDI is committed to providing Jupiter shoppers with high-quality food and products at affordable prices. We will reach out once we have additional information to share," said spokesperson Chris Hewitt. "As part of our expansion efforts, we are constantly evaluating new markets. We’re a national store, with more than 1,900 stores in 36 states. We plan to increase our store count to 2,500 by the end of 2022. By then, we will help as many as 100 million people save money on groceries every month and be the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count."

Palm Beach Ice Cream sits just a short walk down from the new Aldi site.

Judy Nagy said if they ever ran out of bananas or milk, it was easy to walk to Winn Dixie and now, they’ll be able to walk just next door to get what they need.

“I’m really excited about it,“ she said. “I think it’s going to bring in a lot of new customers and be a new place to do grocery shopping.”

Restaurants like Cheeseburgers and More had to drive through heavy traffic to get to Public or Walmart for essentials, which can add up to a 30-minute trip. They’re also looking forward to convenience and hopefully more customers with a void in the shopping center now filled.

“I’m really excited because it’s going to bring in a new vibe,” said server Jonathan Romo. “It’s going to bring in new business for us and attract new people.”

We also learned from the Town of Jupiter that applications have been put in for possible development west of the site at Indiantown Road and Interstate 95.

It’s currently unknown what those developments could be but it will go before council this fall.

WPTV NEWS: Holly Meyer Lucas Discusses How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting South Florida Home Sales

The federal government shutdown has created a backlog of closings for home sales in South Florida. Holly Meyer Lucas discusses how the shutdown has impacted FEMA which has led to a suspension of new policies in the federal flood insurance program.

Holly Meyer Lucas featured on WPTV re MLB Spring Training Rentals

Holly Meyer Lucas featured on WPTV re MLB Spring Training Rentals

WPTV chats with Holly Meyer Lucas about the demand for short term, furnished seasonal rentals for MLB baseball families. Holly is the Palm Beach area’s go-to Realtor for professional athletes and baseball families in the Jupiter, Palm Beach, and Treasure Coast areas.