GHO Being Considered for Riviera's Newcomb Hall Renovation

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Architectural firms present differing plans for Riviera's Newcomb Hall renovation

By Willie Howard  

Posted: 5:52 p.m. Monday, May 2, 2011

— RIVIERA BEACH --- Two architecture firms competing to design a new Newcomb Hall presented different visions Monday for the community center and surrounding property at the city marina.

Song & Associates focused on history in its design for a two-story Newcomb Hall with 20-foot ceilings in the rooms and dormer windows jutting out from the roof.

The Song & Associates design takes its style from the Riviera Hotel, bought in 1901 as a winter home by city pioneer Charles Newcomb . It features covered porches on the first and second floors where visitors could look out over the water and view the amphitheater, which would be in the northwest corner of Bicentennial Park.

Song & Associates' plan includes a central Newcomb Place on 13th Street, a view of the water for those looking east along 13th Street and a north-south corridor that joins Newcomb Hall with stores, restaurants and a Newcomb museum. A circular water fountain similar to the one on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach separates the marina office from restaurants and bars.

"It's like a mini downtown, like a small village," said Young Song, president of Song & Associates.

In another vision presented by the team of C3TS/Gentile, Holloway, O'Mahoney & Associates, Newcomb Hall is a crescent-shaped, three story building at the southeast corner of Bicentennial Park that includes an amphitheater facing northwest into the park.

Newcomb Hall would include covered porches for viewing the water and a banquet hall on the third floor that could be rented for special events such as weddings. The Bahamian building style would be similar to buildings found in Key West or Nassau.

The C3TS team's design for the marina property includes an open-air green market near Newcomb Hall, a tiki-style restaurant and small vendor huts for waterfront businesses. The plan calls for bright colors and lots of trees.

"We want it to be fun, invigorating and a place that people will remember," said Emily O'Mahoney of the C3TS team.

A 12-member evaluation panel will rank the firms' proposals and submit their scores to the city council, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board.

A videotape of Monday's presentations will be shown during the CRA's May 11 meeting, CRA Executive Director Tony Brown said. The board is expected to choose one of the firms and authorize the CRA staff to negotiate a contract for a final design.

The CRA board last week agreed to borrow $25.6 million from BB&T Corp. to rebuild Newcomb Hall and make other public improvements around the marina and along Broadway in hopes of stimulating redevelopment of the waterfront.



Architectural firms present differing plans for Riviera's Newcomb Hall renovation

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