Palm Beach, FL- Home to many Billionaires including Donald Trump

Development in Palm Beach really got started with the completion of the Florida East Coast Railway  here in 1894. A hotel boom for the wealthy quickly ensued. Flager himself built a massive Beaux-Art Mansion in Palm Beach called Whitehall. The population of Palm Beach slowly grew reaching  just over 1,000 by 1910, 1,700 by 1930 and around 4,000 by 1940. On a sad note Palm beach used to host a couple thousand African Americans in the Styx section of town. They were forcibly evicted in 1912. Some other notable history includes JFK’s location of his Winter White House here at La Querida.  General Foods and Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post lived in the Mar-a-Largo estate (just south of Dwtn). This was sold to Donald Trump in 1985.

The area has remained a haven for the rich and those wintering here. Fortunately a rather attractive and walkable Dwtn with tons of shopping options developed around Worth Street and County Rd. To the north several other attractive biz districts were created (i.e. Main Street, Sunset Ave, and Country Rd). Royal Palm Way is the main entrance into Dwtn Palm Beach sitting at the end of Royal Palm Bridge, a boulevard lined with magnificent Royal Palms. But while Palm Beach tends to have good walkability it fails in many other important urban categories; public transit isn’t good, there is limited bike infrastructure, schools are limited, housing is very expensive, and there is limited diversity across all categories. Given the general desire for status quo among the wealthy, I doubt Palm Beach will improve in any measurable way in these areas. 

Click here to view my Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is generally good but about 1/3 of intersections are without ADA curb cuts and some streets without sidewalks.
* Convenient access to Dwtn West Palm Beach being only 2 miles away, but transit frequency isn’t great. Not convenient access to Dwtn. Ft. Lauderdale nor Dwtn Miami across any form of transit.
* Very safe community.
* Great tree canopy.
* Decent park amenities with several nice beaches, a couple plazas dwtn, and a couple medium sized parks, and a nice bike trail along the intercoastal side.
* Good cultural amenities including many restaurants, cafes, and some bars. Also many art galleries and several good museums.
* Lots of shopping here: tons of boutiques, high end stores but also good # of medium end shopping that are locally owned and gift shops. There are also 3 bookstores, some dessert stores, plenty of homes good stores, plenty of banks, a Sakes 5th  a couple supermarkets, several drug stores, a public library, and a couple post offices.
* Generally both historic and modern in-fill is of a good quality with urban form. Some tacky modern architect and Country Rd can get auto centric in spots, especially north of Main St.
* Several nice biz districts with good shopping and urban form including Worth Ave, Country Rd, Sunset Ave, and Main Street.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Very low density similar to a suburb.
* public transit isn’t great.
* Only one dedicated bike lane along the inlet.
* Very limited economic diversity, racial and generational diversity. This is a very wealthy, white, and retiree community.
* One good public grade school in Dwtn Palm Beach but nothing else that’s walkable. Downtown West Palm Beach have some decent schools but this is across the inner coastal.
* Only a handful of churches, limited gyms, and no hospitals in Palm Beach.
* Housing is very expensive but some moderately priced small condos. Studios sell from anywhere btwn 200K-700K, 1 beds sell btwn 200K-900K, 2-bed condos sell btwn 400K 1.5M,  3 bed condos generally sell btwn 1M-5M, 3 & bed SF homes sell btwn 3M-10M , and 4 beds a bit more on average.
* Rentals seem even more expensive. Studios lease btwn 3K-5K, 1-beds 5K on average, 2-beds 10K on average and 3-beds 25+. Not much rental product. Also does not appear to be any dedicated affordable hsg here.

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