From an oceanside marina dock in West Palm Beach, Florida, two new apartment towers rise in the distance near the water’s edge with bulging balconies that resemble wind-blown spinnaker sails.
The effect was intentional when architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia, co-founder of Arquitectonica in Miami, designed Icon Marina Village, which officially opened in March.
“When I think of ocean-bound objects I think of sails,” Fort-Brescia told CoStar News while navigating South Florida traffic. “We figured why not.”
Miami’s Related Group along with partner Rybovich, owned by Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas, built the 399-unit apartment development next to a lagoon across from Palm Beach.
In Fort-Brescia, the team hired an architect whose worldwide work includes Microsoft’s European headquarters, the residential Sky and Sun Towers in Abu Dhabi, luxury hotels around the world and arenas for the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks professional basketball teams.
He said the goal with the Icon Marina Village apartment towers was tying them to the neighboring marina Rybovich owns where numerous superyacht and sailboats are docked across from the two 24-story towers.
Icon Marina Village rose within a federal opportunity zone, one of more than 8,700 the country created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that gives investors a break on capital gains taxes. The development is viewed as a catalyst for redevelopment in the surrounding West Palm Beach area.
Many of the apartments have a view of the docks, Palm Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Penthouse units command upwards of $30,000 a month. One of those went to a couple who told CoStar News at the project’s March grand opening party that they downsized from an 8,500-square-foot house.
Beyond the penthouses, though, Jorge Perez, Related Group’s founder, told CoStar News before the grand opening that the goal was to attract middle class workers who don’t want to make the increasingly difficult commute from the West Palm Beach suburbs to downtown jobs. Rents run $2,000 to $4,000, which he said are “high but accessible.”
Related Group is banking on the West Palm Beach’s moniker “Wall Street of the South” after a variety of financial firms moved to the city. Hedge fund Elliott Management, which has more than $55 billion under management, opened an office there. Goldman Sachs and other financial firms set up shop there as well.
All of Icon Marina Village’s residents have access to an open-air private beach club with a bistro and bar at the water’s edge.
Like all of the residential properties Perez’s firm has built, the walls in the public spaces are covered with museum quality art. Perez is major supporter of the arts throughout South Florida. A museum is named for him in Miami.
Each tower has a different themed lobby and clubhouse. One has a yacht club, resort feel that has weathered wood features throughout. The other is more like what would be found in an urban property with sleek, contemporary elements in furnishings and lighting and subtle nautical touches.
He said that the different lobbies reflect “change of pace” in what is “after all a village,” bridging the city with the water.
Art also is found on the property’s outside grounds. A central feature is a sculpture that Perez sought to be photographed with near the beach area.
The sculpture rises 20 feet and with a globe that lights up at night. Emerging artist Emmett Moore created the piece to resemble a lighthouse, building on the general theme of tying the apartments to the water.
For Moore, the sculpture is the largest piece he’s done. Previous works topped out at six feet using similar material and style. He said Related Group’s art curator commissioned him to do the sculpture after seeing his smaller work.
He noted that Perez is supportive of both emerging and established artists. “A lot don’t want to work with emerging artists,” Moore said.
His Icon Marina Village work takes cues from classic ruins with layers of different color paints in a nod toward what would be found in remnants of old buildings and lighthouses.
The material is synthetic and meant to resemble local bedrock and coral material that washes up on beaches. Rough edges mimic ruins. Shells are embedded in the material along with keys, coins and sunglasses, a subtle effect that’s best viewed close up. A mix of bright and muted paint colors adds contemporary elements to the sculpture.
The goal was to “invoke the past and future all at once,” Moore said.
Building Name: Icon Marina Village
Building Size: 399 Units
Owner: Related Group
Building Location: 4444 N Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach, Florida
Date Completed: February, 2023
Developer: Related Group
Building Architect: Arquitectonica
General Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Distinctive buildings each have their own story. Snapshots is an occasional feature showcasing one of them.