Delray Housing/Retail Project May Grow Larger
By Marisa Gottesman
Uptown Delray plans may get bigger. West Atlantic Avenue redevelopment project may bring additional park.
A long-awaited redevelopment project coming to Delray’s West Atlantic Avenue neighborhood could be bigger than originally expected. The project, Uptown Delray, will bring town homes, offices, restaurants and a grocery store to Delray’s main entrance from Interstate 95. The project is located within the south side of West Atlantic Avenue between Southwest Sixth and Southwest Ninth Avenues.
Now, it also could have three additional town home apartments, more parking and another community park if the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency signs off on handing over three additional parcels they own to the developer, Equity Enterprises USA Inc.
The agreement will come back to the board for a vote in November. The board can choose to sell any or all three properties to the developer.
The three additional properties up for grabs are spread out among the project site; one is located on Southwest Sixth Avenue and the other two are located on Southwest Eighth Avenue.
Several residents, who live in the southwest neighborhood, say they like what project plans they have seen so far. “We only have good things to say,” said community activist Chuck Ridley about the redevelopment.
Blueprints call for 89 Key West-style rental town home units, 40,000 square feet of space for shops and 33,000 square feet of office space.
“It’s going to transform this town,” said project architect Bob Currie. What stores and restaurants will ultimately open in Uptown Delray hasn’t been announced yet.
Project planners say the project has created a buzz among restaurateurs and business owners, but it is too early to announce any arrangements. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2017.
Adding the three parcels to the project may come down to price. The redevelopment agency listed the property appraisals for the three pieces of land, which totaled nearly $570,000. The developer offered $160,000 for the package of three.
The deal allows the properties to be sold for less than the appraisal amount if the developer offers enough public benefits, such as more parking or workforce housing, to compensate for the difference in price. The project already has plans to:
•set aside 20 percent of the living space to workforce housing,
•hire local residents for both construction and permanent jobs,
•pay those workers Palm Beach County’s standard of a “livable wage” and report those amounts,
•keep existing businesses open in the new development,
•and invest $5,000 to Delray’s Spady Cultural Heritage Museum for five years.
Those terms were signed off in the city’s first “community benefits agreement,” a formal contract that says the developer will take care of the locals even after construction is completed.
Equity representatives say adding the properties will provide even more benefits by helping to ease any potential parking crunches and add a more continuous streetscape.
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