The descendants of Henry Morrison Flagler, a railroad-and-hotel tycoon who put Palm Beach on the map by turning it into a world-class vacation destination, just continued his proud tradition by expanding their footprint and influence in the vibrant coastal city.
Henry Flagler’s most notable historical event in Florida was his purchase of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax River Railroad, the first railroad in what eventually became the Florida East Coast Railway.
The Breaker’s Legacy
Breakers Palm Beach resort hotel is still owned by the Kenan family, who are direct descendants of Henry Flagler’s second wife and widow, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham. According to Forbes, The Breakers is one of only 1,100 family businesses in the U.S. over 100 years old still under original ownership.
The Italian Renaissance-style hotel is situated on 140 acres of oceanfront property on Palm Beach Island where it has stood for more than a century and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hotel is owned by Flagler System, Inc. (FSI), the privately held parent company.
In April, Flagler System Management, Inc. purchased the 50-year-old former PNC Bank building located at 245 Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach, for $9.35 million.
Flagler System Management is a sister company to The Breakers, which is owned by Florida East Coast Industries based in Coral Gables.
The management company also owns 265 Poinciana Way, which is home to their administrative offices. The management company, also owns Breakers West Country Club and the luxury apartment enclave One North Breakers Row.
The PNC bank parcel consists of a 2,778-quare-foot single-story Spanish-style building on a 0.5-acre lot, which was completed in 1973. The building is located about half a mile north of The Breakers resort.
This most recent acquisition marks the fourth property The Breakers has purchased since 2010 along their stretch of Palm Beach Island. In 2019, another entity associated with the hotel’s management company paid a total of $20 million for the retail and restaurant portions of a two-story mixed-use development located at 221, 229, and 231 Royal Poinciana Way respectively.
The 229 Royal Poinciana Way property includes the popular restaurant Henry’s Palm Beach. And in May of 2022, the company bought an historic landmark building at 283 Poinciana Way, which now houses over 11,640 square feet of retail space and is home to the famous ice cream shop Sprinkles Palm Beach as well as RSVP Global Pack and Ship.
Former PNC Bank Parcel
While the management company’s plans for the former PNC Bank parcel have yet to be revealed, the property at 245 Royal Poinciana Way includes an attractive building in a bustling part of town that has the potential to house several different types of businesses.
The building is in a prime location just seven minutes from commuter rail and a 16-minute drive from Palm Beach International Airport. It is also just minutes away from both the Intracoastal Waterway and has beach access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Located in Palm Beach Historic District
The area from 207 to 283 Royal Poinciana Way encompasses part of what is known as the Royal Poinciana Way Historic District, which preserves the area as the primary location for civic activity and commerce since the early days of Palm Beach.
Twenty-six of the district’s 36 buildings are considered contributing properties, meaning that they add to the historical integrity or possess architectural qualities that make the historic district important and significant.
Like The Breakers hotel itself, the Royal Poinciana Way Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Famous Historical Anomaly
In an age where other resort hotel properties have been sold off or merged with large, impersonal national hotel chains, The Breakers is a comforting anomaly, and a Palm Beach institution.
Part of its charm is its association with famous celebrities and the glory days of its past. Many celebrities have stayed at The Breakers during its long history, including golden age Hollywood icons such as Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, and Rita Hayworth. The hotel also played host to early American wealthy elite like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Astors.
The Breakers Today
Today, the luxury resort hotel features two 18-hole golf courses and a half-mile stretch of private beach. Two condominium towers featuring 80 apartments and 48 condos were added to the 140-acre property in 1987. And perched atop The Breakers resort is Flagler Club, an exclusive, restricted access boutique hotel consisting of 25 rooms.
The Breakers also boasts four restaurants, a cocktail bar, and off-property dining destinations Echo and the aforementioned Henry’s Palm Beach.
For prudent legal oversight of your property assests, contact Florida Bar Board-Certified Attorneys David E. Klein and Guy Rabideau at Rabideauklein.com. They have the expertise and experience you need to ensure that your interests are protected throughout your real estate transactions on Palm Beach Island and throughout South Florida.