By Tao Woolfe

The Pierce, a residential/commercial project considered crucial to Boynton Beach’s downtown revitalization, could be delayed for as long as a year while two lawsuits make their way through Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

The lawsuits came to light at a Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency meeting on Aug. 8 when Jeff Burns, founder and CEO of Affiliated Development, asked for an extension of the Aug. 11 deadline for obtaining a building permit from the city.

He said Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated has had to cease all pre-construction work because an adjacent property owner — F. Davis Camalier, of 209 N. Federal Highway — filed suit against Affiliated and the city. Boardwalk Italian Ice & Creamery leases space at that location.

Camalier is claiming that the city improperly abandoned three roads to accommodate Affiliated’s winning bid to build The Pierce, a $100 million development that will contain 300 apartments.

Camalier says in the complaint that the city did not conduct its own analysis before agreeing to shut down the rights of way and incorrectly concluded that the closed alleys and streets “would not adversely affect traffic.”

On the contrary, the complaint says, granting the application would increase traffic, impair ingress and egress and “grossly limit accessibility by customers as well as first responders.”

The abandonments would vacate a portion of Northeast First Avenue; a portion known as North Alley; and the full length of another alleyway known as South Alley. Camalier’s lawsuit asks the court to review the abandonments.

Affiliated, meanwhile, has filed a countersuit claiming that Camalier is engaging in “extortionate behavior, tortious interference and abuse of process.”

“This is nothing but a shakedown effort by Camalier and his entities,” to force “an inflated purchase price for his adjacent property or receive a portion of the deal/project to which he has no right,” the suit says.

The Affiliated suit alleges that Camalier has used similar legal tactics in the past.

“This is an unfortunate thing,” Burns told the city commissioners who were serving in their roles as CRA board members on Aug. 8. “It is our job to persevere and see it through — and we will. Our interests are aligned.”

Burns had asked the board for at least a year’s extension to pull a building permit. He said he did not want to have to start all over and resubmit the site plan for approval.

The CRA board agreed, although Mayor Ty Penserga asked that the matter be fine-tuned by city attorneys.

The Boynton Beach City Commission in February approved some site plan changes to The Pierce — originally envisioned as a $73 million downtown complex of apartments, restaurants, retail stores and green space at 115 N. Federal Highway.

Burns has said the project cost is now estimated at $100 million.

Affiliated Development received the city’s blessing on Feb. 21 to rezone the 2.3-acre complex to a new mixed-use downtown core designation; tweak the master and site plans; redesign the parking garage; and abandon some alleyways.

The Pierce will offer 150 units each of workforce and market-rate luxury rental apartments. It will have 17,000 square feet of commercial area that will accommodate restaurants, office space and retail stores.

It will feature public art projects including murals and a large, perforated metal corner treatment on the south parking garage emblazoned with nautical images and lettering that says “Welcome to Boynton Beach.”

The restaurants, including a freestanding new building for Hurricane Alley, and wide sidewalks will provide “an active, engaged area with day and night activity,” Burns said.

The new Hurricane Alley building is also now on hold.

The garages will offer 450 spaces, 150 of which will be for public parking.

The commission in February and March approved many of The Pierce’s requested changes, but asked the developer to work with merchants, especially the owner of the Ace Hardware, to ensure that if the rights of way are abandoned, delivery trucks have enough room to get in and out.

Burns agreed.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
14 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
14 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
14 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
14 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
14 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
14 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
14 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
15 hours ago
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
15 hours ago
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
15 hours ago
More…