The new Harbor Master building at Boynton Harbor Marina.
Willie Howard/The Coastal Star
The proposed marina master plan.
Rendering provided by Boynton Beach CRA
By Willie Howard
The Harbor Master building near the fuel docks at Boynton Harbor is almost complete, bringing a fresh look to the marina along with public restrooms, a store for boaters and a dockmaster’s office.
The $1.6 million building is expected to be completed later this year but will be officially dedicated in February, according to the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, which owns the marina.
The turquoise building with white trim features a chocolate-colored inside floor and will be surrounded by white paver bricks. A circular “sitting wall” under a gumbo limbo tree on the south side of the building is designed as a place for marina visitors to linger.
New coconut palms shade the east side of the building, and a sloped lawn between the building and the fuel dock will be a “viewing lawn” where the public can watch boats passing in the Intracoastal Waterway, said David Trindade, project manager for Collage Design and Construction Group.
The ship’s store and restrooms in the Harbor Master building will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily, said Michael Simon, assistant director of the Boynton Beach CRA.
Collage began work on the Harbor Master building in March, despite a lawsuit from competing contractor West Construction that sought to stop it. West was the low bidder on the Harbor Master project but was disqualified based on stipulations in the invitation to bid. West withdrew its lawsuit in June.
Meanwhile, the CRA plans to solicit bids in December for the “waterfront open space” project near the south entrance to the Marina Village condos.
The conceptual design calls for a landscaped promenade running along the marina boat slips, which hold private boats as well as rental boats and fishing and diving charter boats.
Simon said the CRA has budgeted $700,000 for the open space project, including a realignment of the intersection of Casa Loma Boulevard and East Marina Way to improve traffic flow.
Still to be decided is the fate of a vacant two-story building near the Sea Mist III drift fishing boat that was the subject of a lawsuit by Splashdown Divers, which used to operate a dive shop in the building.
Splashdown Divers settled its lawsuit with the CRA in 2011, but owner Lynn Simmons said she still is interested in preserving the waterfront building.
When the county gave the CRA $2 million from a waterfront bond issue for marina renovations in 2006, it restricted the redevelopment agency from making renovations that would “materially alter” the marina or otherwise eliminate uses.
Palm Beach County’s facilities staff recommended in 2012 that the CRA be allowed to demolish the two-story building. But county commissioners have not voted on the demolition.
Commissioner Steven Abrams, whose district covers the marina, said he is leaning in favor of the CRA’s request to demolish the building, which he said is “literally falling apart.”
But Abrams said Boynton Beach officials need to bring their case to the County Commission for a vote.
“I’m inclined to be supportive of the city’s position,” Abrams said.