The Sunset Lounge was a popular entertainment venue in West Palm Beach during the 1940s and 1950s.
Interior selective demolition is slated to commence on Jan. 30 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 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 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 West Palm Beach CRA will reveal redesign plans once complete. The general concept is to transform the Sunset Lounge into the epicenter of 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 West Palm Beach CRA. “It highlights the community’s contributions to the city and promotes widespread knowledge and appreciation of the extensive black history of Florida.”