CityPlace 2.0: A reimagined plaza, greener and more tied to downtown


CityPlace plans to adapt to changed downtown environment with lusher, more comfortable and adaptable features

CityPlace 2.0 is on the way.

Within the next two months, visitors will see the 18-year-old, Mediterranean-styled shopping and entertainment center begin a transformation into a venue that’s more comfortable, lush with vegetation and flexible in its configuration.

The plan, which requires West Palm Beach approvals, calls for a curb-less Rosemary Avenue narrowed to slow traffic. Look for trellises loaded with plants, walkways cooled by overhead shade sails.

>>WEST PALM READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly West Palm Beach newsletter here

Artist’s renderings show buildings up and down the street covered with vines, and even the pavers underfoot mixed with patches of greenery.

The prominent fountain would be replaced with one of a different design, an interactive splash pad kids could play in, like the fountain on Clematis Street.

The permanent stage would vanish from the plaza, making the public space more adaptable for activities, events, outdoor markets and other experimental uses. There’ll be more shade and seating outside the venue’s ground floor restaurants.

The road work, awaiting city approvals, would be the project’s first phase. How much it will cost and how it will be funded has not been determined, a Related spokeswoman said.

>>READ: Kravis Center unveils its $40 million redesign vision

Matthew Lister, a Gehl Architects partner consulting for CityPlace owners Related Cos., told the city commission the center is responding to changes in the city and the retail environment.

“People have changed,” he said. They’re prioritizing experiences over transactions, rather than coming “to just buy stuff,” and that’s changing the way retailers see the world, he said. So CityPlace will alter its appearance to meet that need, he said.

West Palm has changed since CityPlace was built and that’s why CityPlace must change, he said.

>>READ: Tent site, Carefree Theatre site back on West Palm’s table of discussion

Downtown has become more vibrant, there’s a strong market for development, and a high-speed rail station is adding activity. CityPlace, once isolated in its way, now must integrate with the rest of downtown, Lister said.

One problem is that at night, once one steps outside CityPlace, streets become much dimmer, he said.

That’s a problem the city will be addressing, with plans to add better lighting along Rosemary, reaching into the Historic Northwest neighborhood just to the north of CityPlace. Work began this week on another project to connect CityPlace with that area, a ‘road tattoo’ that will stretch down Rosemary from Okeechobee Boulevard to 11th Street.

“It’s important to make CityPlace more a part of our overall downtown,” Mayor Jeri Muoio said.

>>ANALYSIS: As retail dims, West Palm may OK banks, offices on Clematis

Lister agreed. “The time is now to think bigger about CityPlace and how to move from a lifestyle center to being a strong participant in a rich and vibrant downtown,” he said.

Many of the changes contemplated for the center match those West Palm Beach recently approved for Clematis Street. Starting with the 300 block of Clematis in June, the city will be remove curbs, add shade trees and widen sidewalks to create a more pleasant walking and outdoor dining experience.

Like CityPlace’s plan, the Clematis project is a response to a difficult retail climate challenged by online sales and competition from outside downtown, such as Palm Beach Outlets.

The CityPlace project aims to make the center a place that looks better, provides experiences rather than just storefronts and where it’s comfortable to visit, Lister said. “CityPlace 2.0 is going to use comfort as a primary driver of the public realm, not an afterthought,” he said.

>>RELATED: What are those weird sounds coming from the old Macy’s at CityPlace?

“As an important destination in the heart of downtown, it’s critical we continue to evolve and play close attention to the needs of the people that live, work and play in our environment,” Gopal Rajegowda, senior vice president of The Related Cos., said Friday. “With a bustling hotel, convention center, and RH Gallery at the south end, and now the Brightline train station at the north end, we believe it is the most exciting time ever for West Palm, and we are thinking creatively about how to craft the landscape.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Jupiter Police Department names K-9 after Burt Reynolds character
Jupiter Police Department names K-9 after Burt Reynolds character

Jupiter Police Department has named its newest K-9 officer after one of Burt Reynolds’ best-known characters. Bandit, an 11-week-old bloodhound, will join the department once he completes eight to 10 months of training. This Bandit isn’t going to smuggle bootleg beer across state lines or be chased by Sheriff Buford T. Justice — rather...
Lantana family of 9 loses home in fire; youth football team gives $800
Lantana family of 9 loses home in fire; youth football team gives $800

Sept. 1 was a regular Saturday evening for Tara Payton as she heated up oil in a cast-iron pan to cook dinner for six children in her Lantana home. When she stepped away to ask her husband Ryan a quick question at the front door, Tara heard someone scream “fire!” and she immediately ran back inside to see the kitchen in flames. &ldquo...
Alligator eludes authorities in southern New Jersey
Alligator eludes authorities in southern New Jersey

There’s an alligator on the loose in southern New Jersey, and police have come up empty trying to find the elusive reptile, reported.  >> Read more trending news  Police in Mullica Township said the alligator, which measures between 3 and 4 feet in length, was first spotted Tuesday. Officers and members of the ...
LATEST: Riviera man allegedly tried to kill wife twice in one week
LATEST: Riviera man allegedly tried to kill wife twice in one week

A Riviera Beach man is being held without bond after he allegedly tried to kill his wife of 17 years twice in a week, according to arrest reports. Tyrome Johson, 42, is facing more than a dozen felonies and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bond. Johnson allegedly tried to kill his wife Sept. 9 when he fired two gunshots at her...
More Stories