Business professionals, entrepreneurs and community members gathered at Cityside Suites on Rosemary Ave. in West Palm Beach for the latest installment of The Office Party on Aug. 2. This networking event takes place every third Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30pm and hosts a guest speaker. Attorney Harvey Oyer III of Shutts & Bowen was the guest speaker for the evening.
Oyer presented on behalf of his client Related Group, one of Florida’s largest development companies, and their latest project One Flagler. Under the proposed project, Related plans to erect a 25-story, Class-A office building at the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and South Flagler Drive. This location is the current site of the historic First Church of Christ, Scientist, and just over 300 feet west of the downtown waterfront. The church was designed by Julian Abele, the first African American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture.
The project is meeting resistance because of city ordinances that restrict newly constructed buildings to five stories. Oyer says that approval of the project will result in 1000 high paying jobs and 700 construction jobs. Of these proposed jobs, Oyer says Related has enacted a self-imposed quota to hire a high percentage of minority business owners and workers.
Shalonda Warren of The Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County says, “I have openly supported this project.” She says that a Class-A office space that houses the businesses of Palm Beach County’s most wealthy residents will produce the opportunities that future generations need. “I want my children to have every opportunity,” Warren says. “We have to bring those opportunities to them.” Alicia James, host of the Mz. Millionaire Show shared a difference of opinion after hearing that proposed office spaces have already been reserved for prime tenants. “How does this [project] benefit African Americans,” James asked. “I would love to have an office in downtown West Palm Beach…We don’t have quality spaces.”
The One Flagler project needs three of five city commissioners to vote YES at the next city meeting in order to be approved. Oyer urged event goers to contact their local commissioners and attend the next Downtown Action Committee Meeting at 9:00am on Aug. 9.
Darren Studstill, owner of Cityside Suites, says events like this are what Cityside Suites is all about. “I feel a lot of times my community is left out,” Studstills said. “I care that we get an opportunity.”
To learn more about Cityside Suites and The Office Party mixer contact 561-209-2770.
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