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Boynton agrees to buy AmeriGas property to push redevelopment on Federal Highway
Wednesday, 22 June 2016 20:03

Attiyya Anthony Sun Sentinel
June 15, 2016
Boynton agrees to buy Amerigas property
Boynton Beach residents soon could say goodbye to the bulky propane tanks that sit on one of the city's main thoroughfares.
As the city tries to create a downtown, officials say that the AmeriGas property at 711 N. Federal Highway, doesn't fit into the city's redevelopment goals.
The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday agreed to purchase the property, putting the city one step closer toward its goal of a pedestrian-friendly, marine-focused downtown.
The property "has been on the [agency's] radar for a long time," said Vivian Brooks, executive director of the redevelopment agency. "It is an eyesore, there's barbed wire, a chain-linked fence. It's an industrial use and not something you would normally see on a major corridor like that."
The AmeriGas property is near Casa Costa, a luxury condo building and city officials want to clean up the highway to attract residents, business owners and developers.
The city agreed to pay $625,000 for the .62-acre property that is appraised at $560,000. Brooks said that the property could become a new fire station or green space. Vice Mayor Mack McCray said that although the purchase price is steep, the city should do what it takes to clean up the area.
"I'm totally in favor of getting this out of the City of Boynton," he said.
As part of the purchase, AmeriGas is required to remove the above-ground propane tanks. The property also will be tested for contamination. If the site is contaminated, the redevelopment agency can back out of the purchase. AmeriGas has been in that location for more than 50 years.
Commissioners Joe Casello and Justin Katz voted against the buy. Both suggested that helping South Florida MasterCraft, a boat shop located at 725 N. Federal Highway, get the property could save the agency money.
"My concern is that we pay hundreds of thousands and then the neighbors say they want to buy the property," he said. On Wednesday, Mike Wood, owner of South Florida MasterCraft, said that he was interested in purchasing the property, but wasn't willing to pay the $625,000.
Wood said he could have used the property to display more boats on the highway. "We would like to have a big area where we can have more boats on display to make it more of a destination than it is now," he said.
In 2015, Amerigas closed its doors after city staff found out that the business had been operating without a business tax receipt since 2011.
Due to changes in the city's code, industrial types of businesses such as Amerigas no longer were permitted in that spot, forcing the business to close.

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