WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A part of West Palm Beach is now poised for a big makeover.
City planning leaders are considering a new development that is drawing comparisons to a trendy area of Miami.
Tucked in among the industrial buildings along North Railroad Avenue is the start of something new.
“I moved here in August of last year, and I love it,” said small business owner David Plotkin.
His vintage motorcycle shop called “Burn Up” is the first piece of a new development puzzle that aims to turn the street into something that some people are tempted to compare to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
However, developer Joe Furst doesn’t want that to be the case.
The founder of Place Projects in Miami, Furst is the man behind Wynwood’s creation into a trendy art and entertainment district.
“This is definitely not meant to be another Wynwood,” Furst said.
He said his plans for Nora, named after North Railroad Avenue, are a little different. It involves transforming a line of industrial buildings that run from Seventh Street north to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.
However, the plan has some similarities, including using existing buildings along roughly nine blocks for shops and restaurants. He calls it a mix of lifestyle energy-producing tenants.
“No. 1, it’ll adaptively reuse high-character industrial building into more modern energy-driving uses. It’ll also create a public realm that is a place people can visit, hang out and be a part of the neighborhood,” Furst said.
Furst said he also wants to incorporate the existing homes in the area. Like many others, he’s tapping into the city’s newfound growth.
With taller buildings going up and more on the way, some believe the Nora project can keep fueling the city’s growth.
“We don’t know who exactly our neighbors will be, but we know it will be a really cool vibe with a lot of fresh businesses a lot of local people in here,” Plotkin said.
Approvals of zoning changes for the area are still pending.
Furst said his firm is ready to start improving sidewalks, infrastructure and buildings.
“One of the things important to us is trying to get a complete neighborhood, is have a diversity of different offerings and a diversity of scale and do that through the conservation of more residential assets that exist between Dixie [Highway] and North Railroad Avenue,” Furst said.