The developers’ plans for downtown West Palm resemble Brickell Ave in Miami.

The Related Cos. built The Square, the dining and entertainment center in downtown West Palm Beach, and now has plans to transform it.

During a presentation to major donors to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in March, Related Cos. partner Gopal Rajagowda outlined the company’s long-term vision for The Square, formerly known as CityPlace. He noted that the New York-based company was working to transform the shopping and dining complex into “a place in the city.”

Concept drawings shown on two large screens at the Kravis Center revealed blocks of steel and glass towers.

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A rendering showed a square tower with tiered pedestal floors topped with palm trees next to the new 360 Rosemary office tower along North Rosemary Avenue. Another image showed a skyscraper that appeared to be on the east side of the 550 block, looking north from the Harriet Himmel Theater.

Related’s plan for West Palm Beach evokes Miami’s Brickell Avenue, where skyscrapers of luxury condominiums and offices pile up like wedding cakes punch holes in the horizon.

Although West Palm Beach is not home to 70-story towers, Related Cos. vision for The Square is a modern high-rise business and residential district, dotted with high-end restaurants.

Earlier this year, Related Cos. took the first step towards his plan for more high-rise buildings in The Square when he won a zoning change that would allow a 25-story tower to be built.

The zoning approval is a required basis for Related to subsequently submit building plans to the city if the company decides to go ahead with the tower.

At a January city commission meeting, a company representative showed renderings of two proposed buildings, a 350,000 square foot office building near the Harriet Himmel Theater and a smaller office building being built in above the Hibiscus parking lot.

In its application to the city requesting higher zoning height, Related said its interest in building tall towers was driven “by the unprecedented number of well-paying jobs in the city through the relocation of several financial and technology out of state.”

October 23, 2000 - Workers rush to build the fountain outside the Harriet Himmel Gilman Theater in CityPlace ahead of the grand opening a week later.

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A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD IN WEST PALM? The related cos.’ plans for The Square tie into another major developer initiative to transform Clear Lake into a new neighborhood in downtown West Palm Beach. Think 25-story residential towers around the lake, which is near The Square and visible when driving Okeechobee Boulevard into town.

All of this is boosted by both the Brightline train station in downtown West Palm Beach and the proposed campus of the University of Florida’s master’s program.

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