Delray Beach: iPic closing date at issue

    When does a real estate contract not contain a meaningful closing date?
    The issue was raised March 9 at the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency meeting.
    Two people asked the CRA board to end negotiations because the iPic theater owner was on its seventh amended contract with a Jan. 31 closing date. In December 2013, the theater owner agreed to pay $3.6 million for 1.6 acres that once housed the library and the Chamber of Commerce.
    The CRA attorney handling the iPic sale, Donald Doody, said vacant land sales by a government agency are different from residential or commercial real estate sales. He was responding to an email question from City Commissioner Shelly Petrolia, a residential real estate broker.
    “The closing is not a date certain but rather a specific number of days (as in this case) after the developer obtains all the necessary permits, governmental approvals (plat, site plan, etc.) and is in a position to proceed with the development of the land for its intended use,” Doody wrote.
    Other real estate experts, including resident Allen “Sandy” Zeller, say closing dates are important and asked: “Why would iPic seek the extensions if it didn’t need them?”
    Zeller is semiretired from his real estate practice in New Jersey, where he still represents the redevelopment efforts of Deptford Township.
    “If there was not a ‘date certain,’” said commercial real estate consultant Chris Davey, “any seller could be hamstrung for months and years by a buyer who states they are ‘diligently and expeditiously’ pursuing all necessary approvals.”  
    Davey was on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board in 2015 when it denied iPic’s application.
— Jane Smith

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