By Larry Barszewski
Hurricane Alley Raw Bar and Restaurant expects to have a new downtown home in the coming years, and its owner says Boynton Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency may need to pick up as much as $300,000 of its relocation costs.
The popular downtown restaurant on Ocean Avenue will be losing its current digs to a planned redevelopment by Affiliated Development, which says it will relocate Hurricane Alley to another part of its project. The restaurant’s new, larger building is to be on the south side of Boynton Beach Boulevard immediately east of the Florida East Coast railway tracks.
The CRA purchased the Hurricane Alley site in December. It plans to include the property as part of a larger redevelopment parcel on the west side of Federal Highway between Ocean Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard. It is now working on an agreement with Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated Development for that project.
“With our relocation, we’re looking to either secure some type of funding from the CRA to relocate, either if that’s working with the developer or as a stipend, or as in grant money,” Hurricane Alley owner Kim Kelly told city commissioners sitting as the CRA board at the Jan. 10 meeting. “We’re seeking about $300,000. This move will probably cost us over $500,000.”
Commissioners have supported keeping Hurricane Alley downtown. The restaurant played a role in their choosing Affiliated — which Kelly supported — for the redevelopment project. After Kelly spoke, Commissioner Justin Katz wondered if Hurricane Alley’s relocation expenses should be handled by Affiliated.
Affiliated has proposed a $73.1 million mixed-use project called The Pierce, which would include 236 apartments, a public parking garage and retail, office, restaurant and open space.
“I was under the impression that during the pitch by Affiliated for the project, it was repeated over and over again, that any machinations revolving around the move and relocation to the new property that was part of the pitch, that that was all taken care of. Am I confused?” Katz asked.
CRA Executive Director Thuy Shutt said Katz wasn’t confused; that is what had been proposed. The CRA has never given such a large sum of money to a tenant of a building who is not the property owner, she said.
“I believe before we really commit to anything, we should really go through the negotiation with Affiliated to see what he has to offer,” Shutt said. “Once we turn the property over to Affiliated, they have every right to negotiate. They have a side agreement with Ms. Kelly already for the relocation and they can sequence the construction to make sure that it is mutually benefiting to all parties.”
Kelly said she wants to make sure she isn’t put in “debt to where we can’t get out of a bad hole” because of the redevelopment project.
“This is just a move for us that wasn’t anticipated six months ago,” Kelly said. “Now we’re faced with this huge debt, so if it’s in the form of grants or negotiations with the developer, that’s all we’re looking for. It’s not going to be a cheap move.”
In other CRA matters
Hyperion Development Group, whose affiliate purchased the Ocean One Boynton property north of Ocean Avenue on the east side of Federal Highway from developer Davis Camalier for $12 million in December, is seeking either tax increment financing or direct financing from the CRA for its project there. Camalier previously had a tax-financing plan tied to the project he had proposed for the site, but he gave that up last year when he wasn’t able to get his development plans off the ground.
Hyperion CEO Rob Vecsler said in a letter to the city that Hyperion would seek to adjust the boundaries of some streets neighboring its project area to be able to increase the density of the residential portion of the project. The project is proposed to include at least 348 residential units along with commercial and retail space.
Hyperion also has a contract with Camalier to purchase the Boardwalk Italian Ice & Creamery site on the west side of Federal that could become part of the Affiliated project. However, commissioners said they would not allow Hyperion to use the sale of that property to gain leverage so it could secure financing from the CRA for its project across the street. They said they want to keep the two projects separate.
Affiliated is still working out its agreement with the CRA for its Pierce project. One major question is whether the city will agree to buy back the planned parking garage after Affiliated has built it. The second is if Affiliated will agree to keep 50% of the project’s apartments as “workforce housing” in perpetuity instead of for only 15 years as it originally proposed.