By Jane Smith
The Riverwalk Plaza redevelopment is on hold at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach.
The owner of Josie’s Ristorante in the plaza is jubilant that the owner, Isram Realty, will let the restaurant stay in its place at the northern edge of the 9.8-acre complex. Riverwalk sits south and west of the Woolbright Road Bridge.
“I met with him last week,” owner Stephanie Setticasi said in mid-February. “He will build around us.” The Boynton Beach restaurant has about 10 years remaining on its lease.
Isram Realty Chairman Shaul Rikman could not be reached for comment. Isram had planned to demolish the main building in the shopping plaza and build a 10-story apartment project in its place.
Luke Therien, the Prime Catch restaurant owner, confirmed the developer’s deal with the neighboring restaurant.
Therien was negotiating with Isram to trade .25 acre of mangroves along the Intracoastal Waterway for 50 guaranteed parking spaces for his diners. Therien’s family owns the land under the waterfront restaurant and adjacent property.
“Josie’s wanting to stay means a different parking agreement will have to be worked out,” Therien said. “Josie’s will get some of the parking spaces that we were supposed to get.”
New plans for the apartment building will have to be submitted to Boynton Beach’s planning and zoning division for review.
“A revised site plan — for either minor or major review — would be required only if the plan details actually changed,” said Michael Rumpf, planning and zoning director. “A simple change like moving internal square footage around, or even entrances can require at least a minor — administrative only — review. Multiple, minor modifications would be common for this size of project.”
He said one criterion for determining whether a change is minor or major is if the change presents a 5 percent increase in the project’s square footage. Such major changes would need approval from the city’s planning and development advisory board, which makes recommendations to the City Commission, according to Rumpf.
It’s unclear at this time how substantial a change the new plans would entail.
The approved plans include a 10-story, U-shaped apartment building with 326 units, along with 41,970 square feet of retail space. A 2020 completion date was anticipated when plans were submitted to the city in December 2015.
Harry Woodworth, a former president of the Inlet Communities Association, hopes the public can be part of the review process “in a meaningful way.” As president of the homeowners association, he attended many Boynton Beach meetings where he felt residents’ input was ignored.