On the Horizon: An Inside Look at Nora West Palm Beach

In the pursuit of greatness, cities thrive when they boast diverse and distinctive neighborhoods. A groundbreaking project dubbed “NORA” (for North Railroad Avenue) is poised to do just that once it revolutionizes downtown West Palm Beach into a vibrant and dynamic mixed-use district come 2024. 

This visionary endeavor is the brainchild of NDT Development and Place Projects (who helped reimagine Miami’s Wynwood) in collaboration with Wheelock Street Capital. Once the first phase is complete, it will encompass an impressive 154,000 square feet. Long gone are the days of ordinary urban development — NORA embraces the adaptive use of vacant industrial buildings on North Railroad Avenue. This project will feature extensive infrastructure enhancements, a vibrant streetscape, and a collection of brand-new commercial structures that will breathe new life into downtown West Palm.  

“This project represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to influence and curate an entire neighborhood,” shares Damien Barr, co-founder and managing partner of NDT Development, whose team acquired properties along North Railroad Avenue and the surrounding area five years ago. “Unique from most projects, we have curatorial liberty to design a complete neighborhood and preserve its character.” 

He says the transformation of this district will “catalyze growth,” propelling downtown West Palm Beach to reach its full potential as the commercial hub of a world-class city. “NORA will reshape the way downtown West Palm is used and seen today, delivering a distinguished amenity set that redefines the hospitality experience in the area and strengthens the surrounding landscape,” says Barr. 

So what can locals expect once NORA opens next year? Plans are underway to introduce cobblestone streets for timeless charm and a park designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, which will act as an oasis amid the urban hustle. Here, we look at the project further with Barr and uncover how NORA will make West Palm Beach an even hotter city than the one that stands today. 

Where does NORA encompass? 

NORA will sit just north of the central business district and Brightline train station and is adjacent to the entrance of the Flagler Memorial Bridge to Palm Beach Island. It borders Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard to the north, North Dixie Highway to the east, Quadrille Boulevard to the south, and the Florida East Coast (F.E.C.) Railway to the west. Locals will find NORA within proximity of area favorites, including Palm Beach Island, downtown West Palm Beach’s Clematis Street, Palm Beach International Airport, and more. 

What will the first phase of NORA include? 

On track for delivery in late 2024, Barr says NORA’s first phase, which started construction, will feature the adaptive reuse of former industrial buildings on North Railroad Avenue, significant infrastructure and streetscape upgrades, and a series of newly constructed infill commercial buildings. 

“Upon completion, North Railroad Avenue will contain an inviting public realm and a variety of commercial offerings, including chef-driven F&B concepts, retail, boutique fitness operators, creative office spaces, and a social club,” says Barr. More details on the confirmed concepts and tenants will be available in the near future. 

What about phase 2 of NORA? 

The later stages of NORA will include additional retail, residential, and office development. Plans are underway to build 600 residential units with market and workforce housing rental rates.

How will NORA enhance West Palm Beach for locals and visitors alike? 

“From community coffee shops to high-end eateries, NORA’s retail corridor is marked by a unique sense of place and offerings that complement West Palm Beach’s growth,” says Barr. “There is a desire for a destination with this level of character and sophistication that adds to the community with an excellent public realm, restaurants, and brands that energize the city.” 

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