Avenir is working with multiple builders, all with different visions for how their neighborhoods will look. Will those designs contrast or conflict?
PALM BEACH GARDENS — A journey west on Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens brings drivers past nature preserves, tree-lined streets, and golf courses.
One day, it will deliver them to 3,900 luxury houses in a collection of neighborhoods on 4,752 acres, a place known as Avenir.
It’s the latest step in the westward march of luxury housing in Palm Beach County, with the lowest-priced home in Avenir priced at more than $500,000, but the community’s owners aren’t proceeding like everyone else.
Instead of one massive master-planned community created by a single builder, Avenir Holdings has chosen to try to work with nearly half a dozen builders and balance their different visions of how their neighborhoods will look.
There are early signs those developers’ visions for Avenir will stand in stark contrast if not conflict.
Two communities Palm Beach Gardens approved Jan. 13 are a traditional Florida luxury home development and an ultra-modern one complete with chargers for Tesla vehicles. They will sit on opposite sides of Coconut Boulevard, one of Avenir’s entry streets.
This type of arrangement — one landowner, several developers — is responsible for thousands of acres of development in Palm Beach Gardens, including PGA National, the city’s signature golf course community 7 miles to the northeast.
“This relationship, the developer and builder thing isn’t uncommon here,” Eric Dumbaugh, a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University, told The Palm Beach Post. “But we’re seeing it less now because we don’t have large land holdings anymore.”
Dumbaugh expects luxury development to continue to sprawl outward, as long as there’s space to do it. Avenir Holdings, the company the owns the land, is counting on it to link the development to the rest of the city, whose center can be 30 minutes away in times of heavy traffic.
“When people are buying these homes, they’re thinking in terms of five and 10 years from now,” Joel Paige, the chief executive of the company developing Avenir’s Panther National Neighborhood, said. “They’re getting out there knowing that (the city) going to come to them. Not tomorrow, but it will come to them.”
Avenir will increase households in Palm Beach Gardens by 16%
Palm Beach Gardens is one of the only large cities in Palm Beach County with access to large swaths of undeveloped land and an eye to build west. As such, it may be the only city that can add nearly 10,000 residents in the coming decade.
That growth will build on an already booming population: Among north county communities, Palm Beach Gardens had the fastest growth during the past 10 years, according to 2020 census data.
The city grew by 10,730 people between 2010 and 2020, bringing its population to 59,182. Only three cities added more: West Palm Beach with 17,496, Boca Raton with 13,030, and Boynton Beach with 12,163, according to 2020 census figures.