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Rosemary Square construction: tearing down or building up sales


The year-long construction project in Rosemary Square has led many people to ask if it’s all worth the wait.


Visitors to Rosemary Square, once known as CityPlace, encounter a variety of disturbances such as slower traffic, limited parking and closed-down venues. 


This is due to a five-year, $550-million planned investment by the City of West Palm Beach to remodel the almost 20-year-old shopping plaza. The project started its first phase in November 2018 and finished in spring 2019. With the second phase starting this past summer, it’s still an ongoing process, according to Rosemary Square’s official site.


Under the section “Please Pardon Our Dust: Construction Updates and CityPlace Upgrades,” the site informs visitors that the new and improved Rosemary Square will include a relocated valet, new bike racks, trolley stops and seating area. The renovated space will also include parking garage improvements, additional outdoor lighting, modern residences and a hotel.


While construction is working to make amenities bigger and better for Rosemary Square, realtors are finding the construction can either be an advantage or a deterrent to their sales depending on the location.


Phil Ventresca of Compass and Modern Living Group has dealt with the downtown area of West Palm Beach quite frequently. He rents and sells places only two or three blocks away from the popular Rosemary Square.


“In terms of the rental market, people may steer away a little bit more,” Ventresca said. “I think on the backend of construction there’s going to be a much bigger increase in demand to live in the area, specifically in CityPlace.”


However, veteran Realtor Jeannine Albrecht of Remax Prestige has found the construction to have a direct impact on her sales. 


Construction in CityPlace

“I think a lot of people said, ‘I’m going to avoid that area until it’s finished,’” Albrecht said. “It really is going to look spectacular, but it definitely has affected any sales and rentals in the CityPlace area.”


Albrecht has been a realtor for over 20 years. For the past 15 years, she has specialized in selling in the downtown area of West Palm Beach. Before the real estate crash in 2007 and 2008, her office was located in Exit Realty in Rosemary Square.


But Albrecht still believes renovating the historic tourist destination was the right choice for the city.


“You can’t stop progress,” Albrecht said. “It was starting to show its age, they had to do something with CityPlace.”


For recent West Palm Beach resident Lisa Sarache, renting next to the construction filled area has been a little tricky, but she doesn’t regret her choice. Sarache has been renting since Sept. 2019. 


“I chose CityPlace because I like the historical housing,” Sarache said. “Traffic has been a little slower, but regardless of the construction, I like the area. Overall, I think it’s great they are trying to give the public more choices. Plus, it opens up job opportunities as well.”


By Morgan Therrien

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