By Steve Plunkett
Boynton Beach has dashed its dreams of soon seeing a thriving law firm, two residential towers and a flagship hotel downtown.
After almost a year of negotiations, the Community Redevelopment Agency on Dec. 10 withdrew its request for proposals that envisioned construction on its property at 222 N. Federal Highway.
“We put everything we could on the table. We offered money, we offered land, we offered as much money as we had and as much land as we could,” Mayor and CRA Chairman Jerry Taylor said. “We tried our hardest to make this deal come to fruition.”
Kanner and Pintaluga PA and the CRA started working last January to find a spot for the ambitious Delray Beach law firm to build a 50,000-square-foot headquarters. The lawyers said they would bring 200 jobs downtown by 2015.
The CRA hoped to package its half-acre parcel at Federal Highway and Boynton Beach Boulevard with additional land owned by Davis Camalier through his One Boynton LLC. In July, the parties announced a tentative agreement. The CRA in September offered to give Camalier its parcel as well as $1.3 million and the historic Magnuson House and Little House properties to make the deal work. But Camalier wanted $2.5 million, and the law firm wanted the CRA to build $8.6 million of covered parking. Vivian Brooks, the CRA executive director, said the parking would not generate enough additional tax revenue to pay for the project.
“We’ve spent a lot of time back and forth, back and forth between the three parties, the CRA, One Boynton and Kanner Pintaluga. And where we’re at at this point is, we’re too far apart,” Brooks said.
Taylor said the Delray Beach lawyers wanted “everything basically for free. They wanted the land for free, they wanted us to pay for parking, they brought nothing in.”
Brooks said the agency would continue to work with One Boynton, which owns most of the land fronting Federal Highway between Ocean Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard. “We’ve always said since I’ve been here to Mr. Camalier, when you have a development we’re willing to work with you to make that happen,” Brooks said.
"She forwarded the One Boynton site as well as one on North Federal fronting the Intracoastal Waterway to the Business Development Board, which is looking for a place for a 200-room hotel. But she also told CRA board members “there are no other prospects for development on this site in the near horizon, according to One Boynton’s representative.”