Learn what both sides are saying about the development of 3111 South Dixie Highway and decide how you want to weigh in.
The Prospect Place office center (just south of Belvedere) was built for retail in the 1950s and once home to a Sears department store and Winn-Dixie grocery store. When Sears moved to the former Palm Beach Mall, the buildings were converted to offices.
In December 2006, an entity that included West Palm Beach broker Don DeWoody, the Avison Young firm, and Time Equities, Inc. (a family-owned real estate investment company based in New York City) bought Prospect Place for $17.5 million and kept it an office center.
As time went by, occupancy fell and the owners were unable to find tenants for the space. This situation, in combination with growth in residential demand and a surge of interest in developing the Dixie Highway corridor, led the group to start contemplating new ideas.
In a 2015 Palm Beach Post article, Robert Singer, director of development for Time Equities, disclosed that while they considered low-rise townhouse apartments, the entire tract would need to be filled to make the project work financially. Additionally, according to Singer, that option would provide no interaction with the neighborhood.
They ultimately envisioned a mixed-use facility that blends commercial, residential and public park space.
The new project is being spearheaded by Francis Greenburger, the Founder and Chairman of Time Equities, Inc.
In a letter to the community on the 3111 South Dixie website, Greenburger contends that the property (built for retail purposes in the 1950s) is today “out-of-sync with the market for office tenants. It is also out-of-sync with the more recent community efforts to activate the Dixie Highway corridor.”
Working in conjunction with world-famous architect Helmut Jahn and local architect Keith Spina, of Glidden Spina Architects in West Palm Beach, Greenburger’s proposed plan for the land would be a mix of retail, residential and open park spaces that he believes will be “transformative” for the Dixie corridor, the surrounding neighborhoods and West Palm Beach as a whole.
What are the specifics of the proposal?
- 18,500 SF of boutique retail stores and restaurants along the property’s Dixie frontage (This would include six freestanding shops and a series of mini-plazas featuring outdoor cafe seating, umbrellas, and a playground.)
- Five residential condominium buildings (each 14 stories with 60 condominiums) spaced 60 feet apart and set back to the west along the railroad tracks.
- In between the retail and residential components will be approximately one acre of lushly landscaped park space, which will be open to the public during daylight hours.
Tomorrow, Tuesday October 18th the Planning Board for the City of West Palm Beach will take action on the proposed project at 6 PM in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall.
Citizens for Thoughtful Growth, a local organization “dedicated to protecting the quality of life for West Palm Beach citizens and businesses by advocating controlled growth and preservation of an appropriate Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan” issued their opinion on the project on their Facebook page.
“Anyone who is concerned about the future of South Dixie and the potential impact of high-rises lining the corridor adjacent to single family neighborhoods is strongly encouraged to attend.
This project may not be at the end of your street, but if this project is approved, it may well open the door to others that will affect you, the quality of your life in your neighborhood, and your property values.
The proposed project consists of a small amount of retail along Dixie and FIVE high-rises, each 170 feet tall. This is the approximate height of One City Plaza and other buildings in the downtown.
This is a project that is massively out of scale and ignores the surrounding height and scale (size and mass) of both the surrounding neighborhoods and the existing development pattern along South Dixie Highway.
This project requires the City to change its current laws governing development – The Comprehensive Plan and the zoning map – as well to grant special approvals such as variances and other exceptions to the normal rules for the developers.
The decisions made on Prospect Place will set a precedent in motion that will very likely influence future decisions and requests by developers for other large parcels along the corridor. The future of the 8111 South Dixie has yet to be determined, and there are other parcels that may well come forward for development in the near future.”
What do you think?
If you are not able to go to the meeting, you can send written comments to Jroach@wpb.org and ask that these comments be given to Planning Board Members and entered into the meeting record.