By Jane Smith

    The legal bills continue to mount in the Atlantic Crossing case while the downtown project remains on hold during federal litigation.
    In mid-May, the developers filed their fourth amended complaint in their federal lawsuit against Delray Beach. They allege they have spent more than $8 million to hire planners, architects, surveyors and lawyers needed for the complex, developed by a partnership between Ohio-based Edwards Cos. and Ocean Ridge resident Carl DeSantis.
    On 9.2 acres at the high-profile corner of Federal Highway and East Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic Crossing will comprise 343 luxury condos and apartments plus 39,394 square feet of restaurants, 37,642 square feet of shops and 83,462 square feet of office space.
    The development team sued Delray Beach in June 2015, claiming the city has not certified its site plan that was approved in November 2013 and affirmed by a previous City Commission in January 2014. Last fall, the lawsuit was moved to federal court.
    In its fourth amended complaint, the development team alleges the current City Commission is using “obstruction tactics” by not certifying the project site plan or approving its final plat and demanding the return of two alleys needed to build the project. All of the items are needed before the project can move forward, both parties agree.
    The developers are asking the court to force the city to certify the site plan, approve the final plat, agree that the project owns the alleys, pay for the court costs and increased development costs because of the delay and extend the development agreement to Sept. 9, 2021.
    In early April, the City Commission rejected a modified site plan for the project that added a driveway and redesigned the valet area into a circular path from a horseshoe-shaped version. The plan also called for improved contrast for the two loading docks and a pedestrian crosswalk moved north in the project to increase its safety.
    The changes, though, were not enough to satisfy two Delray Beach commissioners and the mayor. They want a real street with sidewalks and bike lanes instead of a driveway and extra turning space so that vehicles can leave the underground garage safely.
    In mid-April the City Commission approved a request to ask for the return of the two alleys and followed with a motion to dismiss the developers’ lawsuit. Many of the counts belonged in state court or were not ready to be heard, the city’s motion said.
    The case has an October jury trial date.

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