While many cities make less than responsible choices when planning major developments, West Palm Beach leads by example with their new waterfront redevelopment. In the past, this area was a busy harbor, but a 1960’s expansion of Flagler Drive blocked access to this once vibrant area. Now past errors have been corrected with the unveiling of this long overdue advancement, designed to enhance and revitalize the West Palm Beach harbor.
Much more than a simple facelift, this 12.5 acre project along the IntracoastalA�Waterway carries a hefty $30 million price tag that includes Commons Park with community Lake Pavilion, water gardens, two boat piers and connecting walking paths, and and a living dock.
The Pavilion is the first LEED Certified municipal building in the area and features a photovoltaic roof apparatus. It’s designed to be a community gathering place and will house many future events.
Probably the most unique component of this eco-friendly waterfront redevelopment, is the way it works with nature to filter water. The floating dock is actual a water purification unit in disguise – serving not only as a boat dock, but a sustainable structure that cleans up after itself.
The 400-foot dock is composed of concrete layered over a foam core and surfaced with LPE planks.A�The middle has a number of rectangular openings surrounded by an aluminum safety rail.A�Inside these troughs are “aluminum boxes with holes drilled in a pattern,” says Jason Bregman, the project manager and environmental designer for Michael Singer Studio. Each is filled with a layer of geotextiles with special soil for supporting mangroves and spartina grass.
In addition, the textile is peppered with discarded oyster shells donated by local restaurants to help encourage oyster growth. These oysters filter 40 gallons of water on a daily basis and will serve as a natural filter for the dock area.
The entire structure is very modern with flowing lines, seating, shade umbrellas, and gorgeous views of the harbor and skyline. In turn, the West Palm Beach condos lining the harbor, have a spectacular view of the new and improved waterfront.A�
Future plans include the development of extensive reefs made entirely of oysters, tidal gardens of mangroves and spartina that will filter stormwater, create an underwater habitat and provide a rest area for birds.
The waterfront’s development was led by Michael Singer Studio, and the landscape architecture was designed by Carolyn Pendleton Parker, ASLA,A�at Sanchez & Maddux and Connie Roy-Fisher, ASLA, Roy-Fisher Associates.