The Preservation Foundation

Preservation Foundation Statement on Publix Demolition and New Store Development Application
Posted Date 04/27/2010

Publix Supermarkets are seeking to demolish their Palm Beach store and expand their size to the East, creating a larger store and more parking.  The store will increase in size from 33,000 square feet to 44,000 square feet.  An additional 7,000 square feet for outdoor loading docks, generator and other such service areas will be covered.    On average, it will have a height of 30 feet.  The parking will increase by approximately 100 spaces to a total of 218.  The project would begin on April 25, 2011 and finish by December 18, 2011.

The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach supports the concept of a new Publix.  However, the Foundation does maintain some concerns, in particular with regard to refinements of the greenspace throughout the property, the extensive Southside wall, and the overall architectural detailing.

Overall, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach feels:

1. The Preservation Foundation does not find the current Publix a building of landmark criteria and, as such, holds no apprehensions over its demolition.

2. Though Publix is a commercial enterprise, the Preservation Foundation sees them as a town-serving commercial necessity.  A market, unlike other enterprises, serves not as a luxury for, but rather as a requirement of a community.  The Foundation considers a quality market an important part of the fabric of Palm Beach and well respects Publix’s ability to provide that so well to the Town for some 40 years now.

3. A larger store will allow for better service during storms.  The hurricanes which crisscrossed Palm Beach County in 2004 and 2005 clearly showed the importance of an in-town grocery market.  The damage caused by these storms had the Town of Palm Beach without an in-town, easily accessible food and water source for as long as two weeks.  This was one of the major reasons Publix began to look into redesigning its store.  The new store will have a generator providing vital operational ability within 24 hours of a storm leaving the area.  This generator setup is not possible with the current store due to parking issues and limited space.  Also to this point, the new, larger store will be able to hold more goods in times of crisis and need.  Further, the new store’s floors will be higher above sea level to better avoid flooding.

4. The demands of town residents for a better deli and pharmacy, as well as more diverse goods, including certain Publix Greenwise products will be met by a larger store.  This will allow residents to be better served in Town instead of seeking out goods in communities to the North, West, or South.

5. In meetings with Publix officials the Preservation Foundation has advocated for the creation of a temporary store to service town residents while demolition and new construction are going on.  The Foundation applauds Publix’s efforts to seek out a temporary location for a basic needs and perishable items store.

6. The Preservation Foundation appreciates that the new store is not being built with the purpose of becoming a magnet store designed to pull from developing and surrounding communities outside of the Town of Palm Beach.  The Palm Beach store project will begin just as a new 28,000 square foot store will be opening on Blue Heron Boulevard and US Highway-1 to serve the Riviera Beach and burgeoning Northwood communities.  As well, the Cityplace Publix in West Palm Beach is set to increase its store size from 21,000 square feet to 33,000 square feet.

7. The Preservation Foundation has no major concerns over the size of the new store.  The new Palm Beach store will be 44,000 square feet in size.  For comparisons, the Publix located at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens is 45,000 square feet in size and the Publix located in West Palm Beach on Southern Boulevard is 44,000 square feet in size.

8. The Foundation does recognize the need for several variances for the project to go ahead.

9. The Foundation feels that as much greenspace as possible to the parking lot should be added.  The use of palm and shade trees should be maximized both around the building and throughout the parking lot.  Vine on outside walls is also suggested.  Further, as is the case with the current Publix, hedge and greenery should be used visually to divide the parking lot from the surrounding streets.

10. The Sunset Avenue, Southside of the new building will present over 200 feet of uninterrupted wall to passers-by.  Any landscaping and/or greater architectural detailing which could aesthetically enhance or break-up this area is greatly welcomed.

11. The Foundation feels a greater design concern should be put towards the upper areas of the building, in particular the windows.  Any efforts to make them less faux and work them in more naturally to the greater building are welcomed.