The Coastal Star

Boynton Beach: Ocean One’s requests for land, money get resistance from CRA

By Jane Smith

    The Ocean One developer wants a sliver of Boynton Beach public land for a nominal fee and a part of taxpayer dollars generated by the proposed residential and hotel complex.
    The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency owns the .47-acre lot Davis Camalier needs to square off his 3.1-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Boynton Beach Boulevard. The CRA land was appraised in December 2015 at $460,000. Camalier’s group wants it for $10.
    The eight-story, U-shaped apartment complex will have 231 units. A nearby seven-story parking garage will have 463 spaces, with 50 reserved for the public. That will be built in the first phase.
    The second phase, basically the bottom half of the parcel that borders Ocean Avenue, will have a hotel with an estimated 100 rooms and a 118-unit condo tower that is taller than eight stories.
    Camalier’s consultant, Chris Brown, who formerly ran the Delray Beach CRA and now has a company that provides those services to cities, made the pitch for the taxpayer dollars.
    Brown’s tally for anticipated development costs to meet city requirements include $1 million for the 50 parking spaces; $700,000 for wide sidewalks, streetlights and buried utility lines; $500,000 to move Florida Power & Light wires; $500,000 to cover the city’s request to make the project eco-friendly; $500,000 in building permit fees, and $240,000 to cover the city’s request to add retail along Federal Highway.
    For the first phase, Camalier’s group wants $4.2 million spread over eight to 10 years, Brown said. For the second phase, the group is seeking $3.6 million spread over eight to 10 years.
    “It’s based on our calculations that the buildings would add to the CRA, but you will pay out what the buildings actually add [in value],” Brown said.
    That request annoyed Linda Cross, who chairs the CRA’s advisory board and is a retired accountant.
    “The money the developer is asking for is the costs that any developer would have to pay,” Cross told the CRA board on Jan. 10. “They all have to pay for landscaping, moving utilities and putting utilities in. I don’t see that they are giving the CRA any more value.”
    Plus, she said, the money generated is for future projects in the CRA district.
    She also questioned whether the parking would be sufficient. She lives in the nearby Marina Village condominium, which has 349 units, equal to the number that Ocean One would have when both phases are built. The Marina Village garage has 660 spaces with an additional 120 spaces for public use.
    “The concept that millennials don’t drive is not true. They often have more than one car,” Cross said. “We are packed.”
    Waterway resident Harry Woodworth, who’s a past president of the Inlet Communities Associations, said the CRA board needs to attach performance standards to the taxpayer-dollar request. “Otherwise they won’t get done,” he said.
    The CRA board members, who also sit as city commissioners, directed their staff to negotiate a contract with Ocean One consultants. They want five areas accounted for in the deal: parking plan, workforce housing, start of hotel construction, percent of the retail space filled and a community benefits agreement that would cover local hiring.  CRA staff will bring the agreement back to the board for approval.
    CRA member Justin Katz wanted to make sure the hotel was built soon after the first phase. He did not want to see a two- to four-year lag between the two phases.
    The project’s land use attorney, Bonnie Miskel, said the market would dictate when a hotel would be built.
    “It all depends on the availability of money,” she said. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”

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Comment by M.C. Burns on February 2, 2017 at 2:20pm

To me, a long term resident on the west side of the inter coastal, living just north of Boynton, who used to shop at this complex and who visits her aunt in nearby Stirling village, this Ocean One development will just turn more of this area of Boynton into a concrete network of condos and living communities that''ll put more land off limits to me, the ordinary public, anyway.

Why am I ordinary?

I don't have a boat and don't regularly visit marinas anymore.

I can't afford to eat out every weekend at a waterside restaurant or hotel, and I don't have family or friends who do either.  When I do, I've found the existing Boynton Marina and the nearby new monstrous parking garage to be sufficient.

I don't need yet another shopping center to go to, either.  There is a BIG one already on the SW corner of Boynton and Woolbright.

I'd simply like to be able to enjoy a west side coastal natural area closer to where I live and can have easy access to.... there are none at all in the area. And clearly, there are none in Boynton.

Boynton has had more than its share of over mixed use development in recent years -- witness the Renaissance Commons on Congress and Gateway, and the newer existing higher rise developments (aesthetically ugly) on the NW and NE corners of Woolbright...and they were been plagued by vacancies for years....
These developments have presented to me and local residents nothing more than congestion, gridlock and overdevelopment, and provide for increasingly dangerous driving.  I avoid them like the plague.  

I'm afraid I can only assume that now these newer developments in Boynton downtown are presumably are filling up with snowbirds, ex-pats, tourists, and the like, as the local economy picks up.  Why would restoring an area to a natural habitat be unthinkable?  Because to city officials and the CRA, such space does nothing to increase the tax base, and that, presumably, is what residents and everyone want. 

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