April 22, 2018

Palm Beach Daily News


Royal Poinciana Plaza earns beauty prize

Palm Beach Civic Association recognizes successful effort to rejuvenate “tired, worn out” shopping center.

Palm Beach is a beautiful place by any metric.

The streets are adorned with large, gorgeous palm trees. Many of the buildings were designed by world-famous architects. And the island is flanked by the vast, blue Atlantic Ocean. So winning an award for beauty in a place such as Palm Beach is special, said Up Markets head Samantha David, who accepted the Palm Beach Civic Association’s Town Beautification Award on behalf of the Royal Poinciana Plaza on Monday at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.

“Everything on this island is beautiful,” David said to hundreds of people in attendance.”If we were winning this in Boston, I don’t think we’d be so excited. (It would be a) much lower bar.”

For years the shopping center just over the Flagler Memorial Bridge was a mostly vacant plot with minimal businesses. It was a “tired, worn-out plaza,” said award presenter and the Civic Association’s Co-Chairman John David Corey=.

Up Markets transformed it into a vibrant gathering place with well-groomed courtyards and 50 businesses, providing a reason for people to drive over the north bridge.

“The extensive plaza improvements and beautification efforts will be a lasting legacy for Palm Beach,” Corey said.

David said it’s everything she hoped for and more. “I try not to get emotional thinking about the plaza,” she said. It’s not a great look for a developer to cry about a shopping center.”

But even with everything they’ve accomplished so far, they’re not done. One big, looming issue is the still-vacant Royal Poinciana Playhouse. Up Markets officials successfully told the Town Council that the wealthy oped to get done with a new tenant has fallen through and they are back to searching. They’ve come a long way, but they still have a lot of work to do, David said.

“We’re happy, but we’re not that happy,” David said. “This is just the beginning of our journey.”

By: Matt Morgan

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