Downtown West Palm Beach

Masterplan
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Project Categories: UrbanismCodes
Year Started: 1992
Status: adopted
Size: 700 acres

This revitalization plan for the 700-acre area of downtown West Palm Beach includes DPZ as architects and town planners, Jonathan Barnett as urban planning consultant, Walter Kulash of Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart as transportation consultant, and Gibbs Planning Group as retail consultants.

Twenty-two improvement initiatives were underway in the City of West Palm Beach before the April 1993 charrette began. The goal of this effort was to bring these disparate projects together and place them within a coherent context. The resulting master plan reinforces the unique character of each of the downtown neighborhoods, districts, and corridors; supports the improvements underway; describes additional improvements required to fight deterioration; and provides strategies to inspire confidence in a healthy urban fixture. Each of the actions proposed by the plan is related to the following six strategies, produced during the planning process:

  • Reinforce the identity of each neighborhood, district, and corridor
  • Balance vehicular and pedestrian comfort on downtown streets
  • Focus retail growth by area and type
  • Provide a regulatory framework for physical predictability
  • Encourage housing downtown
  • Identify sites for future civic buildings

The new code is simple and succinct. It promotes small-scale, incremental growth. The coding of buildings is based on building type rather than on an abstract floor-area ratio. In conjunction with the regulating plan, this method of coding will result in the physical predictability of the environment. The height and physical configuration of a building is described in advance, leaving the investor free to build within its envelope. The code and master plan have been adopted and are in the process of implementation. Immediate successes have been the rebirth of Clematis Street and the development of City Place. Both projects hinged on zoning ordinance changes introduced by the master plan. New projects based on the DPZ plan include a performing arts center and a library.

View of City Place in West Palm Beach
Image courtesy of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau A view of City Place Masterplan for Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach
Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach Regulating Plan for part of Downtown West Palm Beach

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