By Jane Smith
Delray Beach planning staff is reviewing the latest changes submitted by the proposed iPic movie theater to ensure the revisions comply with city rules and a commission directive to reduce the project’s size.
The question remains whether the developer’s changes are enough to allow the project to proceed through the city’s approval process. Next stop would be the Dec. 16 Site Plan Review and Approval Board. As of press time, planners were still reviewing the submission.
The iPic project received approval at an Aug. 18 city commission meeting. Mayor Cary Glickstein asked the company to reduce the size and “let some air out of the tires,” but he did not give specifics.
The latest plan shows small changes in the project, but it’s unclear whether they addressed the mayor’s concerns.
It now has 31 fewer seats among the eight movie auditoriums for a total of 498 seats, an alley that is 4 feet wider at 24 feet, the retail square footage was reduced by 499 square feet to 7,487 and the office space grew slightly by 708 square feet to nearly 42,000.
“The areas of elevator/stair access space greatly increased because now the third-level outdoor terrace is accessible by the public,” Bonnie Miskel, an iPic land-use attorney, wrote Nov. 20. She was responding to questions from principal planner Scott Pape. “This has affected every floor in the building.”
Commissioner Mitch Katz had asked for public access to the terrace.
Another area of disagreement was the number of public parking spaces provided. Pape said 98 spaces needed to be supplied, but Miskel countered that iPic had agreed to provide 90 spaces and that it would add four from a nearby property that will be part of the project.
“There is no reason to slow down the design process over the management and maintenance of the public parking,” Miskel wrote. “We have addressed the design questions related to the spaces by showing the public parking spaces’ location and the location of the gate.”
She also agreed to place signs on southbound Federal Highway indicating that dropping off of movie patrons is prohibited, encourage valet use so that movie patrons don’t park in the public spaces and to do a traffic study in one year from its final approval to determine the number of conflicts created by vehicles stopping on southbound Federal to drop off movie-goers.
In addition, the inability of the iPic owners to purchase the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency-owned Old Library Site for $3.6 million in the current budget year has affected the CRA’s finances.
At the Nov. 19 CRA meeting, six board members agreed to extend the interest-only payments on the CRA’s 2012 bonds for two years and move the maturity date to Oct. 1, 2020. CRA member Cathy Balestriere was absent.
The money must be used for public projects to allow the bond holders to avoid paying federal income tax on the interest earned.
The CRA board also approved securing a $2 million revolving line of credit for three years with interest-only payments at a 2.78 percent interest rate from City National Bank. The CRA already has a $1.3 million line of credit from that bank.
By Jane Smith