A major condominium and commercial development proposed for West Palm Beach could bring opportunity for growth and new jobs. However, the project is receiving a lot of pushback from neighbors, who say it's bad news not only for their neighborhood, but others as well. They say the plan goes against the usual efforts of preservation of historic neighborhoods in West Palm Beach.
Developers are proposing putting in five 14-story condo towers along with commercial restaurant and retail space at 3111 S. Dixie Highway, right across from the historic Prospect Park neighborhood. The lot is currently occupied by an old, mostly vacant office building.
"We want growth," said Prospect Park resident Lisa Stolberg, "We're not opposed to growth, but that is too much. I think that's a little overkill for our neighborhood."
Nearly 100 years old, Prospect Park is a registered as a historic neighborhood in the city of West Palm Beach.
Stolberg and her husband, Bill Stolberg expressed their concerns in a commission meeting held Monday night.
"Some people are worried about the ability of people to look down in our yards from the tenth floor of their balconies. Other people are concerned about traffic," Bill Stolberg said.
Zoning for the towers was ultimately approved Monday night, however.
Neighbors say the proposed development wouldn't fit in a historic neighborhood more than a mile away from downtown.
"It's out of place," said Prospect Park resident Peter Meyaart. "It's out of size. It would look great down in South Beach. It's not going to fit here in West Palm Beach."
City leaders say West Palm Beach is growing, which merits the need for such developments. They say as a city grows, there's need for compromise.
The proposed development is projected to provide 300 new living spaces, more than 2,000 construction jobs and food and retail jobs once it's done. Prospect Park homeowners say they'd be on board with the project if it weren't in their usually quiet neighborhood.
"This is a project that really should be adjacent to downtown," Bill Stolberg said. "It shouldn't be in a neighborhood."
West Palm Beach City Commissioners will discuss the project plans again and allow for additional public comment at a meeting later this month.