By Mary Hladky
Hoping to mollify residents who oppose their plans for a 384-unit luxury condominium, the developer and architect of the proposed $500 million Mizner 200 have redrawn their plans once again.
Unveiling them to residents attending a May 3 meeting of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations, architect Peter Stromberg, of Garcia Stromberg/GS4Studios in West Palm Beach, said he and developer Elad National Properties have listened to residents’ concerns and made substantial adjustments to the project. It would replace the Mizner on the Green rental townhomes — which will be demolished — on Southeast Mizner Boulevard.
The square footage has been reduced by 10 percent and, in turn, the size of the units decreased to an average of 2,000 square feet, setbacks have been increased by 30 to 60 feet, and more green space has been added.
In response to residents’ main complaint that, at more than 900 feet in length, the nine-story building is too massive, Stromberg said it has, in effect, been divided into three sections connected only on the first and second floors. A portion adjacent to the neighboring Townsend Place condo has been redesigned so that condo’s ocean views are not impeded.
Traffic generated by the development would not be significantly more than that created by residents of the 246-unit, Mizner on the Green, he said.
“[Mizner 200] is a great project for Boca Raton,” Stromberg said.
The revisions follow an outcry from BocaWatch and BocaBeautiful, two organizations that have said Mizner 200 is not compatible with the city’s signature Addison Mizner architecture.
Several residents who spoke at the meeting heralded the changes.
“I must admit what I have seen here is impressive,” said James Hendrey. “They have made significant changes.”
But those who live near the proposed Mizner 200 are not yet won over.
One Townsend Place resident said her property value would decrease if the project is built because the building will block the sun and her ocean views.
“We implore you to rethink the south side of your design,” Eileen Sweeney said. “We won’t be able to see anything from our property.”
Financial and economic consultant Ann Witte, a Townsend Place resident and vice president of BocaBeautiful, said after the meeting that Mizner 200 would be detrimental to most of her condo’s 195 units and seriously so to about 50.
She also has concerns that, given the high cost of the project, the units will be priced too high to attract buyers.
“Developers and commercial real estate brokers have concerns about the economic viability of the project and if Elad will be putting money into the project,” she said. “If it’s not economically viable, what are their intentions?”
Bonnie Miskel, a Boca Raton attorney who represents Elad, said the cost is not as high as some residents have calculated, and that for Elad to get a construction loan, banks will require it to put up 20-25 percent equity.
Elad officials “are talking to banks now,” Miskel said. “They wouldn’t even be talking if [Elad] didn’t have the financial wherewithal.”
The latest proposal marks the fourth time Elad has floated plans for the nearly 9-acre site. When first proposed, it included four towers designed by prominent “starchitect” Daniel Libeskind that rose as high as 30 stories and greatly exceeded the city’s height limits for that part of downtown.
When that proposal stirred outrage and proved to be a non-starter, Elad returned with the proposed Sol-A-Mar, but four of its seven buildings exceeded height limits.
In January, Elad submitted plans for Mizner 200 — this time right in line with what the city allows.
Plans for the latest iteration of Mizner 200 have not yet been submitted to the city. Additional changes may be made before that happens.
By Mary Hladky