By Jane Smith

    The owner of the proposed iPic movie theater property in Delray Beach asked to amend for the fourth time the contract to buy the 1.59-acre site.
    But the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, which owns the parcel that sits between Southeast Fourth and Southeast Fifth avenues, took it as an opportunity on Oct. 15 to put some teeth into the contract.
    The board agreed 6-0, with Herman Stevens absent, to extend the government approvals date to Dec. 31 and the termination date to Jan. 31, 2016, to allow the CRA attorney to negotiate a better deal. Delray Beach Holdings, which would own the Delray Beach site, had asked for two extensions: April 29, 2016, for the government approvals and Dec. 31, 2016, as the termination date.
    If terms can be reached between the CRA and iPic’s owner, then the CRA board would review the contract and approve iPic’s amended dates.  
    At the Oct. 15 CRA meeting, board member Daniel Rose had asked for a reverter clause in case iPic does not move its headquarters into Delray Beach or flips the property to a multiplex theater owner.
    CRA Attorney Donald Doody said the reverter clause had been considered. It sounds good, but it is difficult to enforce, he said.
    Rose, who is a lawyer, said he wanted something stronger than the word “covenants,” which was in the agreement. He suggested “warranties.”
    He felt so strongly about the extension that he wrote an email Sept. 30 to the CRA executive director, assistant director and Doody’s law firm colleague: “The buyer has the money to close and they are approved to build a movie theater, there is no reason for them to need additional due diligence and they should close without delay. I don’t think it is right that we will have to scale back projects such as clean and safe, sidewalk repairs and other valuable projects because the buyer needs more time.”
    Scott Backman, attorney for Delray Beach Holdings, said, “We are here as iPic, not as a developer. We’ve been here since Day One.”
    At the lengthy Aug. 18 City Commission meeting, when iPic received approval on Aug. 19, Mayor Cary Glickstein asked the company to reduce the size. He asked the iPic developer “to let some air out of the tires for us,” but he did not give specifics.
    A revised site plan was submitted Oct. 12 to the city’s Planning and Zoning Department.
    The latest plan shows little change in the project, said Tim Stillings, department director, when asked Oct. 29 at the city’s goal-setting session. It now has 32 fewer seats among the eight movie auditoriums for a total of 497 seats, and an alley that is four feet wider at 24 feet. The retail square footage was reduced by 500 square feet to 7,000 and the office space grew slightly, Stillings said.
    Stillings said he was not going to take the plan to the city’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board and called the developer’s attorney to let her know the plan needed more work.
    Neither Bonnie Miskel, the developer’s land use lawyer, nor her law partner Backman could be reached for comment.

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