A History of Mizner Park | Team 22 Realty

Dated: July 22 2021

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You're probably on this page because you've heard the buzz about Mizner Park in Downtown Boca Raton Florida. Well, we're going to give you a little more than just that! We'll tell you where it came from and what it has become today.

Mizner Park was originally designed by Addison Mizner as his personal estate with lush gardens, fountains, and an architectural masterpiece - The Villa Vizcaya. It is now one of the top tourist attractions in South Florida thanks to its beautiful scenery, free concerts at the gazebo, and events like Wine & Dine at Mizner Park which hosts local chefs and restaurants for foodie lovers. Check out this VIDEO if you want to watch what we're talking about. 

Where and What is it?

Mizner Park is the center of Downtown Boca with inviting gazebos, inside and outdoor dining options, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, dozens of shops, and an amphitheater that hosts major concerts and community events. It's a trending destination for locals and visitors alike.

Located off Federal Highway a block north of Palmetto Park Road,  Mizner Park has significantly impacted the stimulating growth of downtown Boca Raton.

Before it was built, we had only 73 housing units in downtown Boca Raton, and office rents were the lowest in the county. Those numbers changed spectacularly after 1991 with the development of Mizner Park, the 29-acre mixed-use project with shops, restaurants, offices, and apartments.

How did it all begin?

The old Boca Raton Mall, which was torn down to build Mizner Park, opened in 1974 and lasted only 15 years. The mall holed the city's first escalator.

Boca Raton, which held fewer than 1,000 residents in 1950, enjoyed a population boom, but downtown had become forlorn by the late 1980s as people and businesses spread to the suburbs.

Its symbol is undoubtedly the Boca Mall. Nostalgia-lovers will remember the Jefferson and Britts department stores and small specialty stores and eateries, plus the Caldwell Theatre.

In the 1980s, local builder Tom Crocker worked with Boca's Community Redevelopment Agency to restore the old Boca Raton Mall. Residents decided to spend $50 million in infrastructure changes and $68 million in bond financing to help the project get off the ground.

Mizner Park was named after Addison Mizner, the architect who helped Henry Flagler build Palm Beach and built Boca Raton from the ground up, all in pink.

President Abrams' controversies resulted in higher local taxes, lawsuits, heavy debt, new state laws, and restructuring city government. But the shopping center was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for removing blighted property and creating a lively community gathering place.

"Boca Raton citizens love to take their out-of-town guests and visitors to Mizner Park to show it off," President Abrams declared. "Mizner Park has also hosted many excellent cultural and community events over the 25 years."

By 2002, Boca had 689 housing units and approximately 900 being built downtown. Office rents became the highest in South Florida.

The 14-fold rise in assessed property values from 1990 to 2002 improved the city's tax base. In 2005, after property values increased again, Mizner Park started paying for itself.

Mizner Park was highly controversial initially, but it rolled with the punches and kept up with the times. Today, nearly everyone points to Mizner Park as an example of good urban design. It was one of the first New Urbanist projects in the country, and yet after all these years, it is still a top-rated destination.

Present Day

The 30-acre "mixed-use" center opened January 11, 1991, and now holds about 45 retail shops and restaurants together with an amphitheater, 262,000 square feet of office space, 272 residential units, and the Plaza Real promenade.

In October 2010, the American Planning Association named Plaza Real one of 10 top spots on its annual Great Places in America issue. The avenue holds palm trees, benches, three wrought-iron gazebos, public art, and four fountains. Cooper Carry designed Mizner like a classical Mediterranean revival town center.

Worth mentioning the Boca Raton Museum of Art and Carré d'artistes, part of an international network with over 600 emerging artists.

Another heritage of the building is the National Cartoon Museum, which operated from 1992 to 2002.

Mizner Park Amphitheater

Talking about Mizner Park, I cannot pass by the Amphitheater. It's an outdoor amphitheater which can be found in the northeast corner of Mizner Park.

The mid-sized venue priced $6.2 million to design. It consists of a stage circled by a colonnade with a statue and fountain at the entrance of the lawn area—the venue seats 3,520, which can be expanded to 4,200 in a general admission change.

The venue originated in November 2002 with an inauguration ceremony by Henrietta Rach de Hoernle, followed by a concert by Florida Symphony Orchestra. The city took ownership of the amphitheater in September 2010, changing the venue's name as well.

It is also the summer home to the Boca Raton Symphonia.

Today, Mizner Park includes 236,000 square feet of retail space, 267,000 square feet of office space, luxury rental apartments, townhomes, cultural arts space, and a 5,000 capacity amphitheater.

Mizner Park is the perfect mix of homes and commercial spaces, making it an ideal place to live or work in Boca Raton. The best part about Mizner Park? It doesn’t matter which direction you come from—you always have easy access to great food, shopping and entertainment options. If this sounds like your kind of neighborhood, check out our YouTube channel Living in South Florida! Chances are there's some content on there waiting just for you.

 

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Alain Brodeur

A realtor, a chef, and a traveler all walk into a bar, and that’s just the first guy! Actually, it’s me, Alain Brodeur. I’m a 3rd generation realtor from the beautiful area of South Florida, whe....

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