Old is now new again as 7-Eleven opened the doors to its latest convenience store located at the corner of Southern Boulevard and Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach, Florida with a spirited grand opening on December 16. But this isn’t your ordinary store as the building itself once housed a very popular area bank.
The First Federal Savings and Loan building with its metal finishes and ample windows was admired as a “modernistic commercial” design with art deco flair when it opened near downtown West Palm Beach in 1959. The building has a large tower-like rotunda at one corner with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It’s a conspicuous element to anyone driving to or from Palm Beach on Southern Blvd.
But in the past couple of decades, the building just over the bridge from well-heeled Palm Beach has worn down. Long emptied of its banking vestiges, the property has been too big, too small or just too unusual for any business to stay there long.
But that’s where Cuhaci Peterson stepped in, leading production architecture efforts, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems as well as providing permitting services. Given the age of the structure, it provided plenty of opportunities for our team to solve problems, many of which were hidden.
Things you might not regularly consider when doing a new build, like making something new look old and having to deal with the local historical building society.
“The whole building from the interior had to be retrofitted, it had to be demolished and the basement had to be closed off as it didn’t meet any kind of fire code,” said CP Project Architect Wade Arnold. “We had to match the existing windows. The windows were diamond-plated metal and we tried to carry that theme around the exterior,” he added.
The city granted several waivers so that 7-Eleven could more efficiently use the property, including reconfiguring the gas pumps so there will be three islands with two pumps each, allowing for 24-hour operation of the store, and a tax abatement designed to encourage the historic restoration.
This isn’t your typical program work, not by a long shot, but old becomes new and new becomes old and most importantly, our partners at 7-Eleven get a great new building they can showcase in their ever-growing portfolio.
We are very excited to have been part of such a unique project and wish our most sincere congratulations to our friends at 7-Eleven on such a special milestone.