By Jane Smith

The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency’s effort to convert old homes into restaurants has hit some more snags.
For the historic Magnuson House at 211 E. Ocean Ave., the CRA will let the owner proceed at his own pace after a motion to take the property back failed at the agency’s January meeting.
“We’ve been more than generous as to the time,” said Joe Casello, a board member and Boynton Beach city commissioner. He along with Mayor Steven Grant voted to begin the process to take the property back.
The three other members — Justin Katz, Mack McCray and Christine Romelus — voted not to proceed.
“I’m worried that we would have to incur substantial, unknown costs,” Katz said.
The two-story home was sold to a Philadelphia-based developer in October 2015. Since then, the owner has submitted architectural drawings and revisions, but Boynton Beach staff is still waiting for more answers. The last round was submitted in May.
In December, the agency’s attorney sent the owner a letter to speed up the process, said Michael Simon, executive director.
“But nothing was submitted as of today,” Simon told the board members Jan. 18.
Neither the owner, Steve Labov of Shovel Ready Projects in Philadelphia, nor the architect, Jim Williams of AW Architects in Boca Raton, could be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the eatery going into what was known as the Little House has a June opening date, said Lisa Mercado, the operator of what will be called Fork Play. It will serve light bites and craft beers and wine at 480 E. Ocean Ave.
The opening will coincide with the completion of the nearby apartment project 500 Ocean.
In December, the project’s owners asked for a six-month extension from the agency. They could not meet a Dec. 31 completion date.
Board members grudgingly agreed because the project was supposed to be finished in time to get on the 2018 tax rolls and give the agency some income to do more projects. The county property appraiser assesses all existing properties as of Jan. 1.
Fork Play’s owners also received a fourth extension in December. Its owners enclosed the porch with impact windows, installed a new metal roof and paid for other upgrades.

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