City, Policy and urban development update

August 25, 2013

Chapel by the Lake condo project

Monday, September 16, 2013 at 5:00pm, the City Commission will vote on the land use changes sought in order to build this project. Whether for or against the project, come to the meeting and let your voice be heard. If you cannot attend the meeting, the City Commission contact information is here. The proposal has been updated and the rendering below shows the new proposal compared with the old proposal, and a schematic of the new proposal height.

Nominate a utility box for artwork!

The WPBDNA is sponsoring a utility box artwork wrap in partnership with the DDA. See photos of this wonderful project the DDA has been working on here and an article about the project on the DDA website. To nominate  a utility box, check the list of boxes that have already been documented here. If you have a new box to nominate, please snap a photo and submit it using the SeeClickFix smartphone app. We will send a link with the nominees in the coming weeks and an conduct an online vote by our members to determine the winner we will fund.

August 12, 2013

Leading Telecom Company Opens Florida HQ in West Palm Beach - Granite Telecommunications Planning to Triple Workforce

An international telecommunications company that provides services to more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States has picked West Palm Beach for their Florida headquarters.

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio today cut the ribbon on the new Florida headquarters for Granite Telecommunications, a provider of telecommunications, data, networking and other communications and alarm services. During the first half of 2013, Granite had record sales, topping $850 million in annualized revenue.

The new Florida headquarters will accommodate a sales force more than four times the size of the organization’s former Florida sales office.

“This is exactly the kind of company we’re working to attract to West Palm Beach,” said Mayor Muoio. “Our economic development strategy has been to position West Palm Beach as a destination for cutting edge industries and Granite is a perfect fit for us.”

Mayor Muoio was joined by Granite employees as well as members of the Downtown Development Authority.

“It’s exciting to see a national business like this moving into downtown West Palm Beach,” said Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority. “This builds on the momentum we already have at the local level with a new business opening almost on a weekly basis.”

Granite’s former Florida sales office was home to just over a dozen sales professionals. However the company is seeking to hire up to 35 new sales professionals. Its new sales office will be able to accommodate more than 60 personnel in total.

Mayor Pushes Gov. For Broadway Help

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is working on getting a powerful partner in the fight to transform the city’s Broadway corridor. The Mayor had a lunch meeting today with Florida Governor Rick Scott, during which she pressed the city’s case to narrow the roadway, add on-street parking and make other changes to encourage economic growth along the key north-south roadway

Since Broadway is a state road, the Florida Department of Transportation needs to approve any changes.

Mayor Muoio continues to push state officials for those permissions, hoping to clear the way for the city’s economic development plan along the corridor.

The city wants to narrow the roadway to a single lane of traffic in each direction in order to slow down drivers and change the perception of the road from high-speed throughway to a pedestrian-friendly stretch of retail and business.

“We really want to make it look more like a hometown road and not a state road so that it looks like a main street which it really is,” said Mayor Muoio.

The city also wants to add on-street parking in order to encourage people to travel to the area, park and conduct business.

Governor Scott pledged his commitment to help with whatever approvals the city will need.


July 16, 2013

The WPB Policy Department conducting “Project Daily Encounter” on July 18th to help the homeless population find assistance. Read about it here.  Officers in the Southend of the city will be helping the homeless population. Downtown is part of the South End of the City, so downtown should be included. Please thank the Mayor and Police Chief DeMasi for this program.

Concerned about the Chapel by the Lake condominium project? This project will directly impact views of One City Plaza, Two City Plaza, and CityPlace South Tower. Though it is not within the downtown borders, it will affect the public use of our waterfront and the views of many neighbors downtown. The site is not permitted to build as-is by right. The developer is requesting a change in land use and several waivers from the code to build the tallest building in WPB.  Although the DNA has not taken a formal position on the project, we wanted to disseminate information on an organization that is opposing the project, Citizens for Thoughtful Growth. See rendering of the project below.

A message from Citizens for Thoughtful Growth:

Don't let West Palm Beach make another MISTAKE ON THE LAKE!!

Speak out Tuesday, 6 p.m. at the Planning Board meeting at WPB City Hall against the 420-ft. high condo proposed for east of Flagler Drive at Okeechobee, on the First Baptist Chapel by the Lake site.

Developers are proposing to buy the property from the church to build the tallest building in the history of our city undefined 29 stories high, blocking off the public's view of our beautiful waterfront.

Come and let the city know that we want our existing zoning code enforced, not negotiated away to developers who do not have the beauty and harmony of our city and neighborhoods at heart.

West Palm Beach is NOT Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. If you want to keep it that way, let  your voice be heard at the WPB Planning Board Meeting Tues., July 16 at 6 p.m.

Every voice needs to be heard undefined NO MORE MISTAKES ON OUR LAKE!!

Additional information:

Old City Hall Update:  

Thanks to all for coming out to our “Meet the Developers” neighborhood association meeting on June 26th at the library.  Both The Crocker Group and Navarro Lowrey gave their proposals to downtown neighborhood association residents who were interested in seeing what they would build on the site.   

The Crocker Group presented a 10 story  200+ hotel with an additional 200+ apartment concept with additional flex space.  They outlined their financing by stating they would seek tax-increment financing (TIF) and foreign national investor funds. A hotel brand has yet to be identified.  In order for this project to be approved, the height limit for this site would have to be raised by either a city commission vote or public referendum, see below.  

The Navarro Lowrey Concord proposal would be for a 5-6 story 200+ hotel with an additional 200+ loft style apartments and about 50,000 sq/ft of flex retail/office space.   Lowrey has a Hilton flag as their first choice and Concord, a hospitality management company, as their partner. The Navarro group plans to build a commercial liner wrapping the Banyan garage with smaller spaces such as startup space and live/work lofts. The Banyan Garage would also be outfitted with a green wall. Navarro has financing in-place and if approved could break ground for the project in the 1st or 2nd quarter of next year.  

The appraisal on the Old City Hall land has been completed, but the appraisal has not yet been made public. Sale price negotiations are ongoing, with the City pushing the developers to build higher in order to maximize the land sale price.

A new law was just passed by Governor Scott regarding height limits and public referendums.  Mayor Muoio initially proposed that in order for the height limit to be increased on this project, she would take it to the public and let the citizens approve or deny this change of the downtown master plan which limits the building height East of Olive in the downtown to five stories.  The five-story height limit passed by voters should be grandfathered in and still in force. Since a new referendum is now a moot point, the only way the site could go higher would be for the City commission to vote to overturn the height limit voters passed.

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