By Larry Barszewski

Five partnerships have submitted proposals to be unveiled in November for the development of the west side of Federal Highway between Ocean Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard.
Most have individuals who were involved with the unsolicited proposals submitted last year to develop the Community Redevelopment Agency property, before the CRA decided to put out a formal request for proposals.
The CRA is in the process of acquiring more property in the two blocks north of Ocean Avenue, between Federal Highway and Northeast Fourth Street, which would be added to the project’s footprint.
Because of the heavy level of interest, with six unsolicited proposals coming in last year, commissioners decided to ignore all the submissions and create their own vision of the project. Those interested were invited to submit new proposals, and anyone else who would like to develop the property also was free to submit ideas.
The CRA doesn’t have to make the submitted proposals public until its staff has had time to review them.
The applicants planned to make presentations to the CRA advisory board at its Nov. 4 meeting and to commissioners at a special Nov. 30 CRA board meeting. A decision could be made at the CRA board’s Dec. 14 meeting.
The CRA is seeking a “mixed-use development project providing retail, office, public parking and residential uses with a workforce housing component.”
Five proposals have been received. They are from:
• Jeff Burns of Affiliated Development in Fort Lauderdale
• Mark and Kelley Hefferin of E2L Real Estate Solutions in Winter Park
• Robert Vecsler of Hyperion Group in Miami
• Albert Milo Jr. of Related Urban (The Related Group) in Miami
• John Farina and Dustin Salzano of U.S. Construction in Delray Beach
The Hyperion Group is planning to develop the Ocean One Boynton property on the east side of Federal Highway directly across from the CRA’s 115 N. Federal Highway project site. In July, Hyperion told commissioners it was interested in developing both properties as one project.
Commissioners chose to move forward with a wide-reaching request for proposals instead, telling Hyperion representatives they would be glad to consider the company’s proposal along with any others that were submitted.
Affiliated Development and E2L Real Estate Solutions were two of the applicants that also submitted proposals last year. Affiliated had proposed building 220 luxury rental housing units with ground-level commercial space. E2L also included 220 apartments in two buildings in its original proposal, along with a hotel — all to have ground-level commercial space.
William Morris of Southcoast Partners, a Delray Beach development firm that kick-started interest in the property with its proposal in August 2020 to create a $65 million mixed-use development on the site, is now part of the U.S. Construction submission, Morris said. He said the new proposal is similar to the original one that included apartments, stores and a public-access parking garage.
“I’ve teamed up as a development consultant with U.S. Construction,” said Morris, who previously developed the mixed-use Worthing Place in downtown Delray Beach. “I didn’t think that we had enough horsepower financially, as they did. … I thought maybe we’d have a better chance putting my ego aside.”
Related Urban is an entity formed by The Related Group in 2009 to develop and acquire affordable and workforce housing developments. The Related Group has done developments in the city, including the Marina Village at Boynton, 625 Casa Loma Blvd.
Three years ago, the CRA paid $3 million for parcels on the west side of Federal Highway that are being used now as surface parking. The CRA this year agreed to buy a .29-acre property at 508 E. Boynton Beach Blvd. for $915,000.
The CRA is still in the process of adding to its properties in the two blocks. It has agreed to purchase three Oyer family buildings on Ocean Avenue, including the building that’s home to Hurricane Alley Raw Bar & Restaurant, for $3.6 million by the end of the year.
The purchase of the three Oyer properties, with their 0.41 acres, will bring the CRA-owned portions of the block to 2.29 acres at a cost of $7.5 million.

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