The most prominent characteristic of the site is its direct access to the Flagler waterfront. This provides both short- and long-range views from the site and also allows buildings on the site to seamlessly interact with the Flagler waterfront Park and all associated Park offerings.
Secondarily, the site offers proximity to the Clematis district, a positive attraction despite the noise and hours of operation of Clematis businesses. Because of the width to depth ratio of the site, Kolter has positioned the Hotel restaurant and meeting rooms along the eastern portion of the site to interact with the Park and enjoy a variety of water views. The proposed 5-story Hotel will be consistent with other more recent private development (Florida Crystals Building) directly on Flagler (see height survey above and attached). The proposed mixed-use building would then be positioned on Olive Avenue, where it would relate to that streetscape and pedestrian environment by offering neighborhood retail and a ceremonial building entrance. By utilizing this positioning scheme and incorporating 12 typical residential stories above an internal garage, approximately 50% of the residential units would have water views above the Hotel, thereby increasing their value and increasing the underlying land value proportionately. Primary servicing and logistics for both components would take place internally between the buildings and not interfere with local vehicular traffic.
Hotel Component Programming
The primary demand generator for the Hotel operation is expected to be leisure, with business as a secondary driver. The opportunity for special events at this location with water views and Park interaction are very strong. Weddings, anniversaries, smaller business groups, etc. should help support the property in the competitive market set.
The proposed convention center hotel with its large public subsidy will produce substantial downward pressure on room rates and occupancy for all hotels in the market once opened.
A minimum of 120 rooms is contemplated and required to support the intended uses and the valuation of the land. Further study and discussions with leading hotel corporations will be required to obtain a more precise room count.
Meeting space, dining and social areas are all planned for the ground floor allowing direct access to and communication with the Park.
Approximately 50% of the proposed rooms will enjoy eastern views from the guest suites and there will be several over-sized suites incorporated in the design.
A major driver of the overall Hotel design was the interface with the waterfront public Park. Interaction with the public and architectural/aesthetic appeal from Flagler were both high priorities in the proposed design.
Parking needs continue to be studied. Each proposed use (Hotel and mixed-use residential) will require a “practical” supply of parking that may be in excess to code required.
Kolter believes that the Banyan garage may become a component of the parking solution as will thoroughly contemplated surface parking.
Mixed-Use Residential Building
Highest and best use for the western portion of the site was determined to be residential use with ground floor retail; the Class “A” dominant office corridor has been firmly established on Okeechobee Blvd. Sales of Downtown condominiums this year are up over 25% and all indicators point to a continuation of this upward trend.
Further supporting this proposed use is the fact that Kolter also believes the site and the City would be underserved by a multi-family rental building on the site. The sidewalk retail would continue the trend of encouraging businesses to operate within our Downtown pedestrian network.
The proposed 15 stories will allow for substantial water views over the Hotel and is consistent with general development along the Olive Avenue corridor in the vicinity of the site.
The proposed 260 residential units average 1,084 square feet each, with a mix of one bedroom, one bedroom with den, one bedroom lofts and two bedroom with den units. The units are designed and intended to be sold as condominium units.
Approximately 50% of the units will have premium views to the east. Kolter’s experience in West Palm shows that eastern water views are highly desirable and produce approximately 1.5 times the value for each unit that provides such a view as compared to those that do not have water views. This dramatically improves the tax base, absorption rate and success of the project and is directly related to the land value proposed.
Of the 15,200 square feet of retail space, 80% will front Olive Avenue and be further supported by a covered arcade and large public sidewalk. There is also a central plaza on the Olive Avenue frontage that would allow outdoor use by one or more of the retail establishments.
All building amenities and support components are self-contained within the structure. Setbacks, the use of the arcade, building recesses at key floor locations and well-designed massing and articulation have all been utilized to create the quality of architectural presentation shown. This type of massing is also critical to the building yield and therefore the underlying land value as proposed.
The architectural style of this proposed mixed-use project is a carefully blended eclectic statement, employing select architectural features from a slightly traditional Mediterranean style with the prominent design features of a modern contemporary complex.
This eclectic blend allows the overall architectural composition to offer a significant degree of interest and variety. Generous amounts of glass have been employed to create a significantly open feeling within the building itself, especially as the building opens out to the east and the waterfront public Park.
One prominent feature of the project is the central vehicular and pedestrian axis between the two major buildings, which serves as a dynamic arrival point for each of the major uses. It is enhanced by significant pedestrian and landscape improvements and generous applications of pavers, eating areas and major covered drop off elements. Special architectural features include recessed areas at the pedestrian plaza levels, a variety of vertically articulated roof elements and carefully placed balcony elements at the Hotel and the condominium.
Additional accent materials include precast stone, ornamental metal railings and sunscreens and carefully positioned hip roof features with Spanish “S” tile.
The project has employed a number of effective design features to fully integrate itself with the proposed public Park as well as provide special connections to important adjacent properties. In this regard, the 200’ Park setback line has been softly adjusted to include portions of the public Hotel plazas as they embrace the western edge of the Park itself.
The net area of the “Park” is still comparable to what would be achieved with a pure 200’ setback line. Additionally, critical pedestrian circulation through in the Park has been recognized via the organization of walkways and plazas, both at the Hotel and within the Park to merge with each other in transition areas that are marked with special geometrical features, including plazas, fountains and art in public places.
The generous landscape treatment of the Park has been designed to create a natural, yet somewhat formal relationship to the pedestrian hardscape and the curved linear western edges of the Hotel plaza. A variety of materials will be employed in defining the pedestrian hardscape and landscape, including a diverse assembly of paver materials, stone, seating elements, pedestrian lighting and generous landscape treatment.