By Jane Smith
The owner of Riverwalk Plaza in Boynton Beach plans to start building its 10-story apartment complex in late April.
“We have the main contractor on board and hope to get the subcontractors in the next few weeks,” Baruch Cohen, chief operating officer of Isram Realty, said March 22. “We also need to finalize the financing.”
Construction is expected to take two years.
Last June, Cohen had predicted a Sept. 1 construction start. “It’s not delayed,” he said then. “We will have permits in the next few weeks.” That Sept. 1 start date came after an April 2020 date when the apartment construction originally was anticipated to begin.
The primary building permit is ready to be picked up, according to Michael Rumpf, the city’s development director. It contains all the sub-permits, such as electrical, plumbing and structural, needed to start the vertical construction, Rumpf wrote March 23 in an email.
The city will hold a preconstruction meeting with Isram in early April to discuss workers’ parking and the movement of large trucks, along with the inspection process.
Boynton Beach does not require developers to file a construction worker parking plan, Rumpf wrote.
If a parking plan or strategy is needed, “then it must be found acceptable before impacts are realized,” Rumpf wrote. “A construction project is monitored closely by city staff, and the city is quick to respond to and resolve problems or complaints experienced during the process.”
Riverwalk Plaza sits at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Woolbright Road.
In January 2017, a previous Boynton Beach City Commission approved the 326-unit project despite residents’ objections to the height and mass at the base of the Intracoastal Waterway bridge.
Isram Realty, based in Hallandale Beach, paid $9.5 million for the aging center in March 2011.
The nearly 10-acre plaza contained a Winn-Dixie grocery store that closed in January 2015.
That closing allowed Isram to redevelop the location into an apartment complex. The company claimed the change was a better land use for the waterfront site.
Isram has built two Federal Highway buildings on the site, which now house a Chipotle’s fast-casual restaurant and a Starbucks Coffeehouse location.
Isram renovated another building that contains a Walgreens drugstore, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store, Sushi Simon restaurant and Bond Street Ale and Coffee.
At the same time, Isram had to update the underground utilities, fix the drainage for the complex and raise the parking lot.
Initially, Isram had wanted to use part of the western parcel of the two it owns to the plaza’s south side for a construction staging area. But that no longer is possible, Cohen said last June.
Because the parcels contain mangroves, their use must be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Isram sought the permit in December 2017. The permit application was made public in January 2018.
On June 9 of last year, Isram supplied additional information to the Army Corps. The project was still being reviewed in late March, according to the Army Corps spokeswoman in Jacksonville.
Isram plans to donate the eastern parcel, about 5.8 acres along the Intracoastal, to Boynton Beach.
Isram will have to build around Josie’s Ristorante, whose owners have a long-term lease that expires in 2026 and could not reach a buyout deal with the plaza’s owner.
“We will work around them,” Cohen said. “There will be some interruption but not much.”
By Jane Smith