Sights and Scenes: Downtown West Palm Beach

In 1993, West Palm Beach was featured in a 60 Minutes segment on urban decay. At the time, eighty percent of properties in downtown were vacant. Today, West Palm Beach has one of the most vibrant downtown scenes in Florida. In addition, Downtown West Palm Beach has become an office boomtown due to financial firms seeking relocation as a result of the pandemic.

West Palm Beach has long been overshadowed by the richer and more famous Palm Beach to the east. It never had much office space, partly because finance professionals visited only on weekends or for a few weeks during the winter, returning to their New York offices by the spring. “You came here in the summer and it was a different market than the winter,” said Related’s chairman, Stephen Ross.

The pandemic is starting to change that. With their offices closed for months, many finance professionals moved to South Florida to work remotely. Meanwhile, the pandemic pushed more companies to rethink their office strategy and open outposts in places where taxes and housing costs are lower, such as Florida. West Palm Beach is also benefiting from a new rail line to downtown Miami that opened in 2018.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Here is a virtual tour of Downtown West Palm Beach’s ongoing metamorphosis.

The Square

When it opened in 2000, CityPlace, an Italian-inspired, mixed-use project, quickly became a new center of retail and entertainment in downtown. Originally anchored by Macy’s, which closed in 2017, CityPlace was rebranded as Rosemary Square in 2019 and The Square in 2021. The property is now in the midst of a five-year, $550 million mixed-use makeover.

Clematis Street

The Clematis Street Historic District was listed in the West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places in 1996 and in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Characterized by its diverse and distinguished character of historically significant early 20th century commercial architecture, Clematis Street is the historic heartbeat of Downtown West Palm Beach.

Flagler Drive

Flagler Drive parallels the Intracoastal Waterway through Downtown West Palm Beach. A 3.5 mile waterfront pedestrian promenade runs along Flagler Street through the central business district.

Dixie Highway and Olive Avenue

Prior to the construction of Interstate 95, the one-way pair of Dixie Highway and Olive Avenue served as the primary north-south route through West Palm Beach.

Random Downtown West Palm Beach

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at