Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Parking — simply convenient and available parking — and what history tells us about the future of the Gulfstream Hotel.

Friday, March 31st, 2017 was a big day in the history of the Gulfstream Hotel. There is nothing else in the way now to prevent the re-development of the hotel property, building a new hotel to 65′ and a parking garage as well, one of the ideas proposed by the present developer, Hudson Holdings:

A photo taken last month. The grounds and fencing have since been cleaned up.

Some believe the future of the Gulfstream Hotel goes hand-in-hand with the Casino, that any re-development of the hotel must be accompanied by re-development at the Beach as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For visitors and tourists “back in the day” the Gulfstream Hotel was the destination. There were hundreds of miles of beach that one would pass by en route to the City of Lake Worth on a train or by car on A1A back then.

Having a beach, historically, was one draw for the little City of Lake Worth but certainly not the only one. One of the biggest reasons to choose Lake Worth was the location, close enough to the Town of Palm Beach — but without the hefty price tags, haute couture, and pricey menus — and within a few hours of Miami. Adventures were all around: ocean and freshwater fishing, the Everglades, and longer excursions to the Bahamas or even the Florida Keys.

Welcome to Lake Worth, Florida.
The Gulfstream Hotel, view east of the Intracoastal (aka, the Lake Worth Lagoon) and the Town of Palm Beach beyond.

Going forward the past is a very good indication of what will face the future owners and operators of the Gulfstream Hotel. One of the bigger ones is parking. Referencing an article in The Lake Worth Herald from December 6th, 1984 by reporter Deacon Rhodes titled, “Gulf Stream Hotel Is Seeking Larger Dining, Parking Areas”.

What’s interesting about this article is this: sans names and factual references this article could appear in the Herald today and apply to the current situation with the Gulf Stream Hotel* as it exists now and have existed for many years.
     Why is that? One of the main issues with the hotel has nothing to do with the actual building itself but the lack of parking. Remember, the Gulf Stream was constructed in the 1920’s and the automobile wasn’t as yet the public’s preferred transportation option when visiting the state of Florida.
     Most visitors to the hotel in the early years arrived by train, planned stays of long duration, and didn’t need or particularly want to have their own personal vehicle. Many people used bikes for local transportation or walked. The resort had almost everything the guests needed (or within walking distance) plus the hotel offered tours to nearby attractions like race tracks, to cite one example.

So now I hope people can better understand the Beach and Casino is one piece of the puzzle, as they say. People came to the City of Lake Worth because of all the City of Lake Worth had to offer. And they came back again and again year after year. Our City was and still is a very unique place in a very unique location — and it has a remarkable Beach as well — with its own parking issues as well.

But we’ll leave that for another day.

*“Gulf Stream” (historic name for the hotel) and “Gulfstream” (2 words ‘blended’, a portmanteau) are used interchangeably over different eras for many reasons, e.g., commonly accepted title by the public/community, news reports, public relations, advertising, etc.

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