Home News Modern homes in West Palm Beach rankle some residents

Modern homes in West Palm Beach rankle some residents

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Deep-rooted West palm beach The community has been amazed over the last two years as home prices have skyrocketed, signs of sale have risen, and homes (plain but venerable) have fallen.

Well, those vacant lots Popular Southend district nicknamed SoSo It is crowded with the construction of new houses.

However, some residents are wary of designs that describe “mausoleums,” “house aquariums,” and “big white boxes.”

They stand out in Clean rows of 1950s Cinderblock ranch Due to its glassy sterility, modern appeal, and bulkiness, it was often built on a towering upstairs, filling as much as legal limits, grasping more square feet.

Barbara “Barry” Imhoff on Churchill Road, where an unruly yellow Labrador puppy created John Grogan’s memoir “Marley & Me,” has six striking front arches and a $ 3.79 million price tag. A house east of a square foot high house.

“It’s very inappropriate and it’s like a pain in your thumb,” said Imhoff, who has lived in a 1,300-square-foot bungalow built in 1949 for 31 years. He looks ridiculous. “

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And it believes Grogan’s description of the community south of Southern Boulevard is “a funky city neighborhood 1.5 blocks from the Intracoastal Waterway that separates West Palm Beach and the rare mansions of Palm Beach.”

Real estate in the SoSo area of ​​West Palm Beach is not protected by historic preservation rules

With the exception of a small sculpture in the historic center of Berea, the southern neighborhood of South Boulevard, and therefore the nickname SoSo, is old, but not protected by historic preservation rules governing the remodeling and demolition of homes. The West Palm Beach History Conservation Commission needs to approve changes to 18 historic districts, including the newly approved Sunshine Park, but SoSo is exempt, making it vulnerable and valuable to developers.

Douglas Elliman’s real estate agent, Bad Minkov, described the area as the new northern tip of Palm Beach, with small homes being replaced by new designs.

However, SoSo may be even more desirable in West Palm Beach plots, as builders can be larger and taller than islands with strict site boundary retreats and height restrictions. Unlike West Palm Beach, Palm Beach has a building committee that needs to approve new construction and changes to existing homes to suit the neighborhood.

“You can have a 50% larger home on West Palm Beach in lots of the same size compared to Palm Beach,” Minkov said. “Some developers want to build as big a house as possible because the more square feet they have, the more money they can make, and some don’t believe in getting the most out of real estate. increase.”

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Home sales in West Palm Beach area

In 2019, a Palm Beach County real estate appraiser recorded 159 sales on the Dixie Highway to the west and Lake Worth Lagoon to the east, up to the C-51 Canal south of Southern Boulevard.

That number surged to 203 in 2020 and 205 last year. By May 31st of this year, there were 96 sales.


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Richard Pinsky, president of the Southend Neighborhood Association, estimates that there are approximately 2,800 homes in the eastern community of the Dixie Highway between Southern and C-51.

This means that in the last two and a half years, about 18% of Southend properties in the region have experienced a sale if they sold only once. Unknown numbers could have been traded more than once, including a newly built house on 100 blocks of Beverly Road, sold for $ 4.8 million in May 2021 and $ 5.6 million in May this year. There is sex.

The 6,700-square-foot home is located on approximately 10,000-square-foot grounds. At Palm Beach, Minkov said the 10,000-square-foot plot can only accommodate about 4,300-square-foot homes.

Pinsky said he hadn’t heard any design or size complaints about the new home being built in the Southend.

“Even though the southern tip has always been the wealthier demographics, everyone is aware that our neighborhood is gentrified by the wealthier demographics,” he said. “Every time I saw a new McMansion go up, I smiled and said,” OK, the value of my lot just went up. ” “

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However, Shannon Materio, a former West Palm Beach mayor and Southend resident, said he had heard various comments from homeowners. Some are worried about the loss of old homes dating back to the post-WWII population boom in West Palm Beach, while others are excited about their higher asset value.

“It really changes the look and feel of the neighborhood, and at some point it will change the behavior of the neighborhood,” Materio said. “It’s a completely different customer.”

Connecticut-based developer Foster Kaali-Nagy is building two modern-style homes at the southern end to anticipate continued migration from the northeast to Florida. The average New Yorker wants 4,000 square feet of space, Kaali-Nagy said. At the southern end, it means two floors, each 2,000 square feet.

He said some people who moved from New York City were happy with the small green space in the backyard after New York City had few or no gardens. Still, he is testing the market by building one of the more open homes for “throwing a ball with a child.”

Last year, more than 547,000 people exchanged out-of-state driver’s licenses for those with a Florida address. This is a 40% increase from 2020, about 20% higher than the five-year average from 2017 to 2021.

License exchanges were primarily from New York, New Jersey and California.

Florida Highway Safety Vehicle Authority records show similar results during the first five months of the year.

From January 1st to the end of May, 235,261 people exchanged out-of-state driver’s licenses for Florida driver’s licenses. This is a 30% increase over the average for the same period from 2016 to 2022.

In New York, where 26,151 licenses were submitted, New Jersey (12,907) and California (11,972) topped the list of non-foreign license exchanges. Pennsylvania (10,304) and Illinois (10,047) came in 4th and 5th.

For those whose new Florida licenses pointed to Palm Beach County addresses in the first five months of the year, 3,563 were from New York (up 40% from the seven-year average) and 1,713 were from New Jersey (up 32%). ) 800 were from California (up 57%).

Architect and Southend resident Keith Spina said there was no strong connection between people’s hometowns and the size of the green space they wanted.But with the amount of money someone spends The size of the house they expect..

“Some people are just very grateful and think,’If I’m paying a lot, I want square feet,'” Spina said.

When he designed the house, he took into account his eastern house and sought not to invade its privacy. However, when a new home enters to the west of him, the owner can directly see the pool area of ​​Spina. He said he likes the design of new homes and will work with his neighbors on how best to landscaping both properties for privacy.

“It’s their property and they bought it. They have the right to build something that meets the code,” Spina said. “Even though the house is spectacular and much bigger than I wanted, I’m grateful to enjoy it.”

One of the factors Spina said is that changing the look of the community along with the big house High hedge In front of a house or wall with a gate that crosses the driveway.

“It robs aesthetics,” Spina said.

Behind Imhoff’s house on Churchill Road, a limited liability company paid $ 625,000 in November to a 1,300-square-foot 1946 house. The previous owner died three months ago. According to Imhoff, the property is currently a big hole with plans for a two-story home close to the backyard.

When she receives an offer for sale that other neighbors can’t refuse or die, and people who buy a $ 3.79 million home in her city are surrounded by relics from the 1950s in a “funky city”. I’m wondering if I really want to live in the neighborhood.

“I have some neighbors who swear they will stay,” Imhoff said. “But for each block, it can go away.”

Over the weekend, Imhoff received a text that another neighbor sold their home. This time it’s $ 800,000.

“OMG !!! I thought they were left in place,” said a person with a text string.

“Money speaks and we walk!” Someone replied.

Staff writer Christopher Perseau contributed to this story.

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