While downtown West Palm Beach has been hogging the limelight with its blossoming in fits and starts arts district, a huge new arts and retail – and soon to be foodie and sports destination – is growing just south of downtown.
Located at The Warehouse District, a short ride from downtown and across the canal and railroad tracks from the Armory Art Center, Elizabeth Avenue Station is a pop-up retail marketplace and creative-use facility at 1500 Elizabeth Avenue.
On April 21st they will be hosting an open house Spring Fling with all the vendors, free drinks, music by Ella Herrera and special food tastings with their favorite local creatives and businesses.
With a selection of over 20 curated vendors, the Station is host to Celis Produce’s urban garden located just outside in The District Garden.
The complex is designed to offer small business owners and artists an affordable place to sell their wares – everything from jewelry to home decor to handmade art, and vintage furniture. Space can be rented by the month. Current vendors include Avenue Pottery, Salty Kai, HeartSwell, Katie Cakes, Flower & Fringe, Vakano Bracelets and dozens more.
A recent visit there found a freshly painted bright mural in the courtyard parking lot, lettuces and vegetables springing up in the garden boxes, and scores of people browsing the vendor booths inside. The station also has a creative space that local artists and business owners can rent out by the hour for photo shoots and other work projects.
The Unleashed Fair opened the District back in January during Palm Beach Art Week with a monster art show that featured a score of regional and emerging artists as well as a 60-foor long installation that created ocean waves made of salt by artist Nina Dwin that was destroyed in a performance at the end of the fair. There are plans for more galleries and performances in the large versatile space.
A major draw to the district will be a New York-inspired food court called Grange Hall Market, which will boast the city’s only craft beer brewery Steam Horse.
The food hall portion is the brainchild of real estate developer Chris Vila, a former New Yorker who sees a Chelsea Market-type gourmet localcentric place that provides one-stop-food-shopping options.
“We are rolling out the District in stages,” says William Earl of Johnstone Developers, owners of the property. “We purchased about seven warehouses here, a total of about 85,000 square feet, and are excited about the location and the need for some young creatives to move in to the spaces and have a place to get a lot done in one area. A place to shop for locally sourced food, work out, shop for crafts, grab a beer, and just hang out. Downtown West Palm has kind of failed in that regard. What we especially like is that it is old and has a gritty vibe with the pine ceilings, raw concrete floors and the railroad track going through it. You can’t get that atmosphere in a new white box construction. It was all constructed between the 1920s and the 1950s.”
Grange Hall, expected to open this summer, will house Rabbit Coffee roasters, Celis Produce vendors, Celis is the tiny shop owned and operated by brothers Felipe, Alex and Camilo Celis, but it’s more than a place where you can pick up juice or salad ingredients, plus a butcher, fishmonger, florist, taco spot and rotisserie chicken joint.
Earl says in addition to Elizabeth Avenue Station and the retail vendors, the various business will include Steam Horse Brewing Company, West Palm Beach’s first craft brewery and taproom. They aim to be an artisan small batch brewery hand crafting all-natural, innovative ales and lagers while utilizing the highest quality ingredients.
Grange Hall Food Market – A chef-driven market hall and event space featuring 12 unique food vendors, flowers and home goods.
The Palm Beach Squash Club which will be the first premier boutique squash club featuring both singles and doubles courts in town.
District WorkSpace A shared workspace that provides flexible work options for various users to rent office space.
Studios Etc, an exclusive and transformative fitness studio offering high-energy and motivating spin and barre classes.
The Warehouse District Courtyard – A simple urban courtyard designed to provide outdoor greenspace to neighborhood guests.
The Warehouse District Railway – The “Railway” is a 700 lineal-foot former rail line that is being reimagined into an active pedestrian-centric walkway and gathering space.
“This is a key element to the District,” Earl says. “we wanted to keep as much of the original structures as possible.”
And finally Public Art, the Public Art program will ultimately include wall murals, large scale sculpture, landscape design and certain interactive art options to make The Warehouse District a regional artistic and cultural destination. Art Fairs will continue to thrive.
While it may seem as if developers are building a brand new neighborhood, the developers claim that’s not the case.
“The neighborhood exists. What we’re trying to do it bring it back to life. This is not like CityPlace where you are sprouting up with a (from-the-ground-up) development,” they say, emphasizing that The District’s project seeks to redevelop an area, not build from scratch.
Many of the previous inhabitants of the industrial district were working trades that are now gone. Some of the architectural elements left behind by previous generations and inhabitants will now have new lives, connecting the city’s past to its future.
Check out the District on April 21st from 6 to 10 p.m. 1500 Elizabeth Avenue, WPB. $10 cash admission
Located at The Warehouse District, Elizabeth Avenue Station, is a pop-up retail marketplace and creative-use facility at 1500 Elizabeth Avenue.