7960586264?profile=originalBy Jane Smith

    The iPic movie theater team reached for the stars before the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board meeting.
    To be allowed to build a luxury theater in the city’s downtown, the team used robo calls, TV spots, email blasts and Facebook and Twitter posts. Representatives stood outside City Hall just before that meeting to hand out royal purple T-shirts that read: “I pick iPic.”
    The commission chamber was standing room only with board members looking out to a sea of people dotted with folks wearing the T-shirts. Even iPic’s land use attorney, Bonnie Miskel, wore one over her navy blue suit during her presentation.
    Despite the strong showing, board members denied the three key items that iPic requested to build an eight-screen theater complex on 1.59 acres that used to house the city library, a parking lot and the Chamber of Commerce offices.
    The advisory board denied all three of the iPic requests: abandoning an alley, increasing the height from 48 to 59.5 feet and using the site as a theater.
    The height denial was unanimous. The alley abandonment and theater use were denied on 5-2 votes, with Chairman Robin Bird and board member Jay Jacobson voting for both.
    The city’s planning staff supported the project. Some board members liked the concept of theater in downtown Delray Beach, but they thought it wasn’t a good fit on the small site.  
    “They are trying to put 10 pounds of something into a 5-pound bag,” said board member Christopher Davey.
    The iPic complex is “too massive for the property,” said speaker Bruce Gimmy, who owns The Trouser Shop on Atlantic Avenue.
The next step for iPic is to pitch the City Commission on Aug. 18.
    Miskel described the iPic movie experience as a boutique cinema with a home theater environment with blankets and pillows available. The seats that recline fully have wait service where the patron pushes a button and the server appears.  The theater’s peak season is the summertime, opposite of the city’s winter season, she said.
    Karen Granger, president and CEO of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of iPic.

    “We are really thrilled at the chamber because of the jobs this project brings to Delray Beach,” she said. “Not only the movie theater jobs, but the jobs associated with having the headquarters for iPic right here in our downtown.”
    The company, based in Boca Raton, operates iPic movie theaters in 11 cities.
    The Delray Beach iPic would feature 528 stadium-style seats that need 30-foot ceilings. The complex would have 42,660 square feet of office space on the top two floors, 7,986 square feet of retail along Southeast Fourth Avenue and a 320-car parking garage with 72 spaces for the public.
    The iPic owners are asking for 4,832 square feet of alley, but Miskel pointed out that the CRA’s request for proposals always required companies to make use of the alley. She also pointed out that the iPic owners are conveying or granting easements to the city for 6,301 square feet to widen two alleys. “The give is greater than the take,” she said.
    One speaker, Robert George, who owns nearby properties, objected to the alley giveaway. The alley was dedicated in July 1896 by the Model Land Co. and W.S. Linton to the city for use as a public roadway, he said. Closing that section of the alley would impair access of public safety vehicles, delivery trucks and customer vehicles, he said.
    Traffic circulation was an issue to some board members. Valet drop-off would occur inside the complex, just off Atlantic Avenue. Those cars would be stacked on the parking garage’s top floor and retrieved by a valet who would then exit the garage and do a series of right turns onto Southeast Fourth Avenue and Atlantic before returning into the complex.
    Some board members noted that the light at the Southeast Fourth Avenue intersection with Atlantic is geared to keep traffic moving on Atlantic and that cars can become gridlocked on Southeast Fourth Avenue.
    In addition, movie-goers would likely drop off passengers on Federal Highway, just south of Atlantic Avenue, where they could enter because they purchased tickets online, Gulf Stream resident Robert Ganger said. He also is president of the Florida Coalition for Preservation, dedicated to preserving quality of life for coastal residents.
    Miskel’s answer: The iPic owners would hire an off-duty police officer to keep traffic moving.

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