By Jane Smith
Three development teams were picked to present their conceptual plans for the 16.5-acre Town Square in Boynton Beach.
The two local teams are: Boynton Beach Town Square LLC and Boynton Vision LLC. The other team, based in Washington, D.C., is Municipal Consolidation and Construction.
The city is seeking a partner to help jump-start the development in Town Square, bordered by Boynton Beach Boulevard on the north and Seacrest Avenue on the west. The area houses City Hall, police headquarters, fire station No. 1, Civic Center, Madsen Center and Arts Center.
According to the city proposal, the development can include residential, office and retail space.
The City Commission unanimously approved the development team rankings presented Jan. 17. A fourth team, Town Square Partners, consisting of Davis Camalier and William Morris, who are involved in the Ocean One project, was not selected.
Assistant City Manager Colin Groff gave this ambitious timetable to commissioners: final team selection on March 21 and final contract approval April 4. He said the estimated dates were tentative.
During the review process, each team will be invited to give a presentation to the selection committee. The public can attend, but state law and county rules forbid people from commenting, Groff said.
The two local teams chosen are well known in Palm Beach County.
Historic preservation architect Rick Gonzalez, working on the Swinton Commons project in Delray Beach, is part of the Boynton Beach Town Square bid. He also worked on the restoration of the Mar-a-Lago estate for President Donald J. Trump and is involved in Trump’s quest to build a helipad on the estate in Palm Beach. Another participant in this proposal is John Markey, whose firm developed two multifamily projects in the western part of Boynton Beach.
Bill Branning, former Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency board member and board president of the Old School Square in Delray Beach, and his BSA Construction firm teamed with Atlantic Realty Partners and Kaplan Residential as part of the Boynton Vision bid. Lawyer Michael Weiner, who owns the Post Office building at Seacrest Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard, also is participating.
Frank Haney, president of Municipal Consolidation and Construction, has committed to hiring local firms for design, engineering, surveying and legal work.
Once the final contract is approved, “there will be a lot of public meetings on the open space — landscaping, playground equipment and lighting — and the design of City Hall and the old high school,” Groff said.
The historic high school, Public Library and the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum must remain at their current locations, according to the city proposal document.
A potential stumbling block to reusing the high school appeared again in early January.
On Jan. 6, Juan Contin, the architect who formed the Boynton Old School Partnership, appealed the dismissal of his claims against the city.
The partnership sued the city in 2013 after its plan to create an events center was denied on second reading. Since the suit was first filed, it was amended three times. In December, the circuit court judge dismissed it with prejudice, meaning the only avenue for the partnership was an appeal.
By Jane Smith