For years, Delray Beach had been the little sister of neighboring Palm Beach. But in the last decade, it has been transformed into a glittery cultural hub for both locals and visitors. The invigorated Atlantic Avenue is teeming with a bustling spirit and a beachy-cool energy. The walkable coastal avenue is dotted with restaurants, boutiques and beauty, fitness and wellness-focused businesses. With many hospitality, residential and commercial projects under construction, the luxury space is ready to keep expanding.
A number of the most revered outposts along Atlantic Avenue are thanks to Menin Development, the Delray Beach–based, privately owned developer and manager of commercial real estate properties. The company has had its feet firmly planted in luxury hospitality since CEO and founder Craig Menin opened its doors in 1985; today, it is bringing a real estate–focused mindset to the revitalization of Delray Beach.
“We have a unique opportunity to create memorable experiences for the city in a variety of ways,” says Menin. “With the innovative food concept and interior of Lionfish, the incredible accessibility and immersion of food, art and culture of Delray Beach Market, the fresh steakhouse twist of Avalon and the architectural and design-focused boutique hotel concept of The Ray, we are invigorating the city further and creating job growth along the way.” Menin is also keeping longevity front of mind. “Our community is growing with such speed and diversity,” says Menin. “We are seeing tenant and employment interest from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Nevada—even Europe and South America.” Along with the restaurants and hotels, Menin plans to develop The Linton, a five-story, 277-unit apartment building that will feature a swimming pool and spa, cabanas, clubhouse and gym. “Delray Beach is going through a development renaissance,” he says. “That said, we want to retain the character of our beach town that attracted us to live, work and develop here. Being thoughtful in the tenants we take on as well as the projects we develop ourselves is key so that we have long-term sustainability and Delray Beach doesn’t turn into just a nightlife hotspot.”
Jordana Jarjura, Menin Development’s president, also believes in focusing on the long-term success of Delray Beach, from hospitality to real estate ventures. “What excites me most is the real estate market,” she explains. “People have been coming to downtown Delray to dine and go out for the past couple of decades. What has been occurring the past five to 10 years—and certainly elevated in the past six months due to COVID-19—is people making Delray their home.”
One of the largest local businesses slated to open this spring is the Delray Beach Market. Designed by Jose Gonzalez, principal of award-winning Gonzalez Architects, this $60 million, 150,000-square-foot immersive culinary experience will feature 24 curated regional and local vendors, interactive murals and sculptures, a mezzanine with an exhibition kitchen, lounge area, bar and stage and an underground lounge. Menin will devote roughly 40 percent of the space to what the company calls “Florida’s largest food court,” with accompanying restaurants and a brewery. The Delray Beach Market is ready to truly bridge the city’s community through food and culture. “We love emerging downtowns like Delray that have innate character along with a strong environmental element (in our case, our beautiful beach and Intracoastal Waterway),” says Jarjura. “We want to focus on additional boutique hotels with a strong culinary and wellness component similar to The Ray.”
The Ray, a 141-room boutique hotel just two blocks off Atlantic Avenue in the heart of the funky Pineapple Grove Arts District, will bring a design-centered luxury to the neighborhood while mirroring Menin’s focus on high-quality food, atmosphere and entertainment. From the 20,000-square-foot rooftop pool deck with bar and restaurant to the rooftop floating forest with lush tree canopy shading the many open space areas, the LEED Gold–certified Ray hotel is a modern tropical oasis that flawlessly blends chic design with sustainability and local experiences.
Menin Development has also partnered with hospitality veteran Andy Masi of Clique Hospitality for the management of Lionfish, a new sea-to-table culinary experience. Locally sourced, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat and local produce coupled with lots of outdoor seating make this San Diego transplant the place to be. “Lionfish is your community hangout, your intimate dining space to escape the hustle of Atlantic Avenue, gather with friends and socialize over outrageous quality seafood and shared plate offerings,” says Masi, who has set up his brand’s headquarters nearby. Menin is also excited to partner with other talented local entrepreneurs like Curt Huegel, of Host Restaurants, on Avalon. “The community is supportive and open to quality growth, which is paramount to the visions I have for this city,” Menin explains. “There’s a positive force there for what we are doing and working to accomplish for the city of Delray Beach.”