The Sunset Lounge will close effective January 15, 2018 to begin the renovation process for the notable structure located in the Historic Northwest District of West Palm Beach. As part of the West Palm Beach CRA’s work to revive the Northwest District of West Palm Beach, the agency is spearheading the renovation project of the neighborhood’s historic building.
Interior selective demolition is slated to commence on January 30 in order to prepare the structure for future renovation. The West Palm Beach CRA has selected Cooper Construction Management for the rehabilitation project, and Hedrick Brothers Construction will provide historic restoration consulting. As part of the first phase of selective demolition, the apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building will be removed in order to convert the structure back to a ballroom with a large elevated stage and 3rd floor mezzanine. The demolition will also renovate the current bar on the first floor as the upcoming redesign will include a full-service eating establishment along with a new bar. The detached buildings that are adjacent to the Sunset Lounge will also be completely demolished at the end of January. A proposed addition to the east side of the historic structure will house elevators and pre-function space as well as green rooms for the ballroom performers.
The WPB CRA will reveal redesign plans once complete. The general concept is to transform the Sunset Lounge into the epicenter for a new African-American cultural tourism destination. In the 1940s and 1950s, the famous jazz venue drew hundreds of patrons to watch the notable artists of the time including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. The redevelopment of this celebrated site will pay homage to the rich jazz and black history of the area and celebrate its significant legacy and impact.
“The renovation of the Sunset Lounge is an important project for this West Palm Beach neighborhood,” said Jon Ward, Executive Director of the WPB CRA. “It highlights the community’s contributions to the city and promotes widespread knowledge and appreciation for the extensive black history of Florida.”
The West Palm Beach CRA recently ranked #5 of 60 applicants for the Florida Division of Historical Resources’ Special Category Grant to receive additional funding that will assist in the preservation of this significant historical structure. The agency was also named a finalist in the 2017 Knight Arts Challenge Miami by the Knight Foundation for their proposed public art project in the park across from the Sunset Lounge with world-renowned artist Lily Yeh.