Editorial: Guy Harvey project may be what downtown Boynton needs
Thursday, 17 December 2015 22:39

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015
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Among the latest good signs on the vibrant local real estate landscape is that noted developer Guy Harvey is interested in investing in Boynton Beach.
In contrast, recent weeks have brought questions as to whether something finally will happen on the long-shuttered jai alai property in Mangonia Park, whose only claim to fame of late has been hosting the northern Tri-Rail terminus and being owned by former boxing promoter Don King. Elsewhere, there are questions of whether Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene is a builder or land banker, having stockpiled much West Palm Beach land but with only one project underway.
That makes the idea of bringing one of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts’ signature projects to the county notable for a variety of reasons. One is that the company’s outdoor-oriented vacation destinations would add more spice to Palm Beach County’s myriad tourist offerings.
Also notable is that Guy Harvey still is obviously interested in the county, despite an unsuccessful try at a resort-oriented project in Pahokee. His multimillion-dollar plan there to rebuild the neglected marina as a vacation resort succumbed to snags ranging from “extensive navigational issues” on Lake Okeechobee to the kind of local dysfunction that Boynton officials would be wise to avoid.
In fact, in yet another contrast, the Okeechobee County Commission subsequently showed more can-do spirit. Officials there unanimously landed Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts as part of a $20 million plan to remake their Okee-Tantie Recreational Area on Lake Okeechobee as a world-class outdoor vacation destination.
Now, as The Post has reported, Boynton’s Community Redevelopment Agency and Harvey’s company are discussing bringing one of his beach-inspired hotels to Boynton’s downtown area.
Credit Vivian Brooks, the CRA executive director, who told the CRA board she reached out to the resort company in the context of Boynton’s longtime desire to open a hotel downtown. Mayor Jerry Taylor already is on record as saying, “We’d love to make it happen.” Other city officials, too, should get on board to help deliver the town a successful project.
While Kevin DeNell, executive vice president of Guy Harvey Outpost, said the discussions are still preliminary, he affirmed, “We are interested in expanding our brand in South Florida, obviously, and Boynton would be one of those locations.”
It’s up to Boynton to try to take advantage of the possibility, however, given that such opportunities can be fleeting.
Witness the jai ali fronton where King’s original entertainment-complex idea was a great thought, but stalled even before Tri-Rail rolled in. Yet the site still offers all the possibilities seen in transit-oriented developments around country — and that All Aboard Florida is taking advantage of at the hubs being built for Brightline, its promised high-speed rail. Meanwhile, King and Mangonia Park are still waiting on a deal.
In contrast, suddenly The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches spring training stadium complex is about to sprout 2 miles west down 45th Street. During a Dec. 8 Community Update on the project at neighboring Crossroads Baptist Church, stadium officials, citing similar experience with the Washington Nationals stadium in D.C., were unequivocal about the surrounding development and other benefits that will come with their project.
Similarly, Boynton’s exemplary outreach could result in what Taylor correctly says “would be very exciting.” Harvey’s track record could lead directly to redevelopment of two possible sites Taylor mentioned. One is near the Boynton Harbor Marina, just south of the Casa Costa condominiums on Federal Highway near Boynton Beach Boulevard. Perhaps even better might be the long-awaited redevelopment of the entire area around the Town Square property.
Either — or both — could prove an excellent fit for the teamwork desperately needed in the ongoing effort to revitalize Boynton’s downtown.

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Boynton Beach Redevelopment Agency
710 N. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach FL 33435


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