By Jane Smith
The Boynton Beach lawsuit against its private developer in the Town Square project is headed to a nonjury trial in the spring of 2022.
The city received a trial date range between March 14 and April 22, according to an Oct. 29 court filing. The start date will be set on March 4.
Mediation talks reached an impasse, according to a Sept. 14 court filing.
Boynton Beach is asking a judge to decide whether it met obligations in a March 2018 agreement with JKM Developers of Boca Raton.
Under terms of the agreement, even if the city wins, JKM will still own the land.
The city gave three parcels of land to JKM for the Town Square project. The firm also received nearly $2 million in cash for undefined “considerations,” according to the March 2018 agreement.
The city had an options clause in the agreement that allowed it to buy back the land for $100 a parcel. After JKM received city approval for its site plans in December 2018, the options clause was removed during negotiations between JKM’s attorneys and the city attorney.
Boynton Beach, though, was promised two garages to provide parking for its staff, library workers and patrons, and visitors to its renovated historic high school and Schoolhouse Children’s Museum.
JKM has allowed Boynton Beach to park cars on the Town Square land the firm owns, according to a deal worked out by a former assistant city manager, Colin Groff.
The city spent nearly $150,000 for attorneys’ fees and expenses as of Sept. 30. In the spring of 2021, the city attorney’s office hired the Jones Foster law firm of West Palm Beach to help with the litigation.
At the Nov. 4, 2020, Boynton Beach Commission meeting, City Attorney James Cherof estimated the lawsuit would cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to initiate. If the city wins, it will seek repayment of the attorney fees, Cherof said at the meeting.
Town Square is an ambitious private-public partnership between the city and its Community Redevelopment Agency and private developers. The 16.5-acre area sits between Boynton Beach Boulevard and Southeast Second Avenue.
The original plans called for the $250 million Town Square to have a mix of municipal buildings and privately developed apartment buildings, a hotel, restaurants and shops. The city’s share is slightly more than $118 million.