Related story: The Pierce honors Boynton’s ‘barefoot mailman’
By Tao Woolfe
The city’s final approval of The Pierce — a $73 million downtown complex of apartments, restaurants, retail stores and green space at 115 N. Federal Highway — has been greeted with enthusiasm from all quarters.
Elected officials, the project’s developers, Community Redevelopment Agency staff and residents have expressed joy and relief in the weeks following the unanimous vote of the City Commission on July 5.
But perhaps no one is more enthusiastic about The Pierce’s imminent arrival than Kim Kelly, whose landmark bar and restaurant, Hurricane Alley, will be a crown jewel in the new complex.
“Affiliated is going to build us a stand-alone building with two stories and intends to make our move as reasonable as possible,” Kelly said in a phone interview. “The development group has been very attentive to our wants and needs. We are excited.”
The preservation of Hurricane Alley, which has been at 529 E. Ocean Ave. for 26 years, helped sway the city to choose Affiliated Development over four other developers hoping to build on the 2.3-acre site.
As Mayor Ty Penserga put it at a recent commission meeting, “Everyone loves Hurricane Alley.”
The new bar and restaurant, which will be relocated to a nearby building on Boynton Beach Boulevard, will be familiar but fresh, Kelly said.
She plans to repurpose the wooden floors and furniture and hopes to add some brick accents, but the restaurant will have more open space — including a mezzanine on the second floor from which diners can look out the many windows, or watch the downstairs activities.
“It will have an old-school feel, and we’ll keep it as authentic as possible, but it will be newer and better,” Kelly said.
Besides the 3,000 square feet of indoor seating, the new site will have an outdoor dining area, according to the plan.
Kelly said the restaurant will add a massive projection TV that can livestream broadcasts onto one wall of the parking garage next door.
Cold beers and cold oysters, fresh-caught seafood and hamburgers will still be offered to customers inside and outside. Kids and dogs will still be welcome.
Kelly said she will continue to lease the Ocean Avenue space, currently owned by the CRA, until the new Hurricane Alley building is completed in about two years.
Other businesses in mix
Affiliated Development CEO Jeff Burns has said there could be at least one other restaurant, as well as other retail businesses, in the complex’s 16,800 square feet of commercial space.
The lion’s share of the property, however, will be occupied by a 236-unit apartment tower and an eight-story, 450-car garage that will include public parking.
Ace Hardware and other retail stores in the area would not be affected by the development, city officials have said.
“The Pierce’s eight-story apartment building will offer luxury finishes, features and amenities including a resort-style pool with private cabanas, state-of-the art fitness facility, co-work collective and keyless Bluetooth door entry,” Affiliated said in a recent press release. “The Pierce will be built and certified to national green building standards.”
The Boynton Beach CRA and the Fort Lauderdale-based developer spent more than seven months hammering out compromises on the $5.5 million, below-market price. Affiliated will ultimately pay for the land; the number of public spaces in the parking garage; and the number of affordable apartments.
Under the final agreement, the parking garage will provide 150 spaces — above the number outlined in city code — for public use. If Affiliated needs more spaces (up to a maximum of 10), it must lease them from the CRA.
The developer also agreed to provide affordable rental apartment units with this breakdown: 50% (118 units) of the total 236 apartments will remain affordable for 15 years; 30% (about 70 units) will remain affordable for 30 years; and 5% (11 units) will remain affordable in perpetuity.
The project timetable will depend on how long it takes to secure the necessary permits, Burns has said.
Among the approvals needed: a master site plan from planning and zoning; a land development permit from the city’s engineering department; site and building permits from the building department, and the completion of several inspections, according to a building department spokesperson.
“We could complete the construction, start-to-finish, in 20 months,” Burns told the City Commission in early July. “It’s not unreasonable to expect to have a shovel in the ground by next year.”