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Developer seeking millions in incentives to build in Boynton Beach
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 22:17

• Alexandra Seltzer
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
2:20 p.m Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 Southern Palm Beach County

BOYNTON BEACH
A longtime owner of prime land in Boynton Beach is negotiating with the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency over financial incentives to build an eight-story apartment building, and later condos and a hotel.
While Davis Camalier owns most of the land in his Ocean One project at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Boynton Beach Boulevard, he needs a small piece of land owned by the CRA to complete it. And, he wants the property — appraised in 2015 for about $460,000 — for free.
Also, Camalier wants the CRA to provide about $4.2 million over eight or 10 years in property taxes generated by the first phase of the project and about $3.6 million from phase two. The CRA would keep an estimated $6 million in tax revenues generated by the project, documents show.
Officials didn’t appear to have much of a problem with the incentives, saying the money that would be given to Camalier is money that would exist only because of the project.
“The owner doesn’t have to build anything here. He can leave it vacant,” Mayor Steven Grant said in defending the incentives.
And, it’s not rare for the officials to give these incentives to bring development to the CRA district, considered a blighted area. This year, the agency will give about $1.3 million to five projects. And once 500 Ocean at Federal Highway and Ocean Avenue is built, the CRA will pay about $4.39 million to the developer over 10 years.
The Ocean One group presented the proposal earlier this month to the CRA, which is composed of the city commission. CRA members gave them a first nod that they are on the right track (though the project itself still has to be approved).
Phase 1 of the project proposes an eight-story building of 231 apartments and 8,575 square feet of stores. Phase 2 is on the south half of the property and would have a condo building likely taller than eight stories and a hotel.
The project would have public green spaces and a seven-story parking garage.
But there’s much to be negotiated before the developers come back with papers to sign.
The city requires 413 parking spaces for Phase 1. The developer will provide that, plus 50 public parking spots. While the exact figures of Phase 2 haven’t been worked out yet, the developer promises to provide whatever parking is required, plus another additional 50 public spots.
Both the officials and residents don’t think the project will provide enough parking, and said they want more spaces.
“It is just a serious concern of mine that under-parking in this particular area would diminish the eventual payoff if people are deterred to come down there,” Commissioner Justin Katz said.
And they need to feel more comfortable that the stores will fill up. Former Delray Beach redevelopment director Chris Brown, representing the developer, told the officials they added more retail at the insistence of the city’s planning department.
Officials also want a concrete promise of a hotel.
Ocean One would be a few blocks north of the waterfront Riverwalk Plaza, where city officials this week approved a major renovation to include creation of a 10-story apartment building. Some residents fiercely opposed the plan because of the height, saying Boynton shouldn’t become a large, busy city.
And one resident, Lisa Browne Banic, expressed that same feeling about the Ocean One project.
“We’re here in Boynton Beach. Not in Delray Beach. Not in Fort Lauderdale where I used to live. We’re here because we like the small neighborhood environment where our children can enjoy the beach and the park neighborhoods,” she told city officials. “Please consider who lives here.”
But Ocean One is in the center of a downtown long-sought by city officials.
“I know that we want to keep Boynton Beach a family-friendly town, however this is the central business district. This is what we always thought was the top of the wedding cake so I’m OK with you guys moving forward,” Grant told the developers.

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

 

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