Palm Beach OK Declaration of Use Agreement for New Cultural Arts Center

City Council on Tuesday gave a Massachusetts-based developer the go-ahead to go ahead with a top-to-bottom renovation of the long-closed Royal Poinciana Playhouse.

At their regular meeting at City Hall, members of council gave final approval to a Declaration of Use Agreement and an “Amended and Restated 1979 Agreement”.

The vote was 3 to 2, with council members Julie Araskog and Ted Cooney opposing.

Both agreements received preliminary approval at the April 12 board meeting.

The Statement of Use Agreement outlines the terms that INNOVATE, a public company chaired by Palm Beach resident Avie Glazer, must meet to operate a cultural and arts center planned for the former performance hall building. A waterfront restaurant, as well as retail space and a gallery are also planned on the site.

Renaissance for the theater:Cultural Center for the Arts, waterfront restaurant planned for site of long-closed Royal Poinciana Playhouse

The amended 1979 agreement alters the original pact made between the city and the then owners of the Royal Poinciana Plaza. It required that the performance hall be rented “solely for use as a performing arts and/or visual arts theater and for lectures or other special events”.

Up Markets, a division of WS Development, has controlled the venue since 2014 under a long-term lease for the venue.

Earlier this year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and council approved requests for special exceptions with a review of the site plan and deviations for renovations, additions and alterations to the existing building and site.

Up Markets announced in January that it planned to convert the historic Royal Poinciana Playhouse into a cultural and arts center and waterfront restaurant.

The project will include a top-to-bottom renovation of the historic two-story, 34,517-square-foot building at 70 Royal Poinciana Plaza, which closed in 2004 after the departure of Clear Channel Communications, its last tenant.

When completed, the new site will accommodate around 400 people, according to WS Development. It will feature a stage with a retractable back wall, allowing the space to transform into a waterfront outdoor event venue. Programming will include art, film, dance, theatre, music, education and charity events.

Plans also call for a 200-seat waterfront restaurant with al fresco dining; 12,000 feet of retail and gallery space; floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway; 7,995 square feet of additional space on the ground floor of the center; and an ancillary one-storey 893 square foot maintenance building.

A new pedestrian plaza and valet depot are also planned between the performance hall and the building of the adjacent plaza; a restored restaurant terrace with new trellises and a new terrace along the west dyke; repair and restoration of the dyke; a new covered entrance along the south side of the existing building; and associated landscaping.

Also on Tuesday, the board appointed an alternate member to the Code Enforcement Council and two members to the Investment Advisory Committee.

Victoria Piroso will replace Julie Herzig Desnick on the Code Enforcement Board, while Kathleen Anderson and Michael Greenwald have been reappointed to their seats on the Investment Advisory Committee.

The Code Enforcement Board hears cases involving violations of city code and ordinances, and imposes administrative fines and other non-criminal penalties for ongoing or repeated violations.

The Investment Advisory Committee makes recommendations to Council on City investment policy and the investment of City surplus funds.

Jodie Wagner is a reporter for the Palm Beach Daily News, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach her at [email protected] Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

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