April 23, 2014

Downtown Development

Worth Avenue is Worth Reviving

Shopping icon Worth Avenue gets a new identity.

Mike Vogel | 7/1/2010


Shopkeepers and the Town of Palm Beach are spending $14 million to spiff up Worth Avenue.
Worth Ave. makeover
The makeover will include fountains and piazzas.
Worth Avenue has seen it all, from Addison Mizner’s pet monkey to Joseph Kennedy’s trysts, but it’s fallen from its perch among the retailing elite and the likes of Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue. No major infrastructure work has been done since 1983. Luxury retailers have opened in nearby malls. Throw in the effects of a bad economy, and the iconic Palm Beach thoroughfare now fears that being shopworn means it won’t be shopped in.

To woo customers, the Town of Palm Beach and property owners on the avenue are funding $14 million in improvements — “all new streets, all new sidewalks, new streetlights and new trees. There will be shade. There will be a place to sit,” says an excited Sherry Frankel, president of the Worth Avenue Association and owner of Sherry Frankel’s Melangerie.

Plans include burying overhead utilities and, to better mark Worth Avenue’s eastern beginning, coquina piers and a clock tower on South Ocean Drive. There also will be piazzas, fountains, wider, decorative sidewalks and the reintroduction of the street’s tree of yesteryear, the coconut palm, which had fallen prey to disease.

The goal is to create a better identity, says architect Mark Marsh, of Bridges, Marsh & Associates, which calls Via Mizner on Worth Avenue home. “Worth Avenue is iconic and world-renowned but over the last 10 to 15 years has seen a certain depreciation in terms of the actual physical appearance of the avenue,” Marsh says. “It’s extremely important to not only the Town of Palm Beach but also to this part of the world.”

Tags: Southeast

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