12175733691?profile=RESIZE_710xInvestments Limited has submitted a proposal for a pair of nine-story towers with a total of 266 guest rooms to be built where the post office now stands downtown. Rendering provided

By Mary Hladky

James and Marta Batmasian, the largest commercial property owners in downtown Boca Raton, have proposed building a two-tower hotel on property where the downtown post office now sits.

The Batmasians’ submittal to the city is very preliminary and it is not clear if they will move ahead with the project. One official with their company, Investments Limited, who did not identify himself, declined to elaborate on the project, saying only that they are “not really sure what we will do yet.”

But the two-paragraph submittal and conceptual renderings show an ambitious project named Mizner Plaza that aspires to feature high-end retail such as Hermes, Cartier and Ferragamo and would locate restaurants on the ground floor and second floor.

The hotel’s nine-story towers would have a total of 266 rooms, one with 153 rooms and the second with 113 rooms. A pool amenity deck, lounge and restaurant would be on the fourth and fifth stories of the second tower.

An outdoor staircase to the second floor would separate the two towers, and the project would be “a destination and experience for all,” the submittal states.

A total of 423 parking spaces would be located in two levels of underground parking, including some mechanical parking.

The project would be located on 1.6 acres at 132 and 170 NE Second St., east of Federal Highway and north of the Tower 155 condo, where a one-story mixed-use building with restaurants and retail and the post office now sit.

City staff responded to the submittal with many questions and requests for clarifications, including an explanation of what would happen to the post office.

Potential loss of the post office in 2018 stirred outcry when postal officials notified the city that they planned to relocate their facility somewhere else in or near the downtown because their lease on the building was about to expire.

The Batmasians, who bought the property they now want to redevelop in 2013, were among those strongly objecting to the post office’s closure. Residents packed a public meeting to let the U.S. Postal Service know how they felt.

Postal Service officials said they wanted a long-term lease of at least 10 years but were unable to get one from the Batmasians.

James Batmasian, however, said at the time that he had no idea the Postal Service wanted a long lease and offered to provide one. The Postal Service signed that new lease, and it runs through 2028.

Investments Limited proposed building a 144-room extended-stay hotel and restaurants in Royal Palm Place in 2019, and the City Council approved the project one year ago. Construction has not yet started.

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