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.”