By Mary Thurwachter
A proposal to redevelop the retreat property owned by the Catholic Cenacle Sisters into a high-end rental community took a step forward on April 23 when the Lantana Planning Commission gave its blessing to a needed zoning change.
There is a contract on the 10-acre property at 1400 S. Dixie Highway, pending a zoning change from commercial to mixed-use waterfront.
The next hurdle for the buyers, Ocean Ridge developer Jerry Goray and Trinsic Residential Group (a Dallas-based company with an office in Miami), will be securing approval for the zoning change from the City Council. The matter is expected to come up at the town’s May 12 meeting.
The Cenacle property stretches between Dixie Highway and the Intracoastal Waterway and is across the street from a shopping center at the corner of Hypoluxo Road and Dixie Highway. The land was zoned commercial several years ago to make way for a proposed hotel. But that deal fell through.
Boca Raton attorney Bonnie Miskel, representing the developers, said the plan is to build 319 units with resort-like amenities and lush landscaping.
The mixed-use waterfront designation, she said, would be a better fit for the area than the current commercial designation.
Some of the apartments would likely be live/work units to accommodate small businesses such as architects, designers or attorneys. Renters would have their businesses on the first floor and live upstairs.
Attorney Al Malefatto, who represents the Catholic Cenacle Sisters, said the nuns are very much in favor of the proposal.
Manny Martinez, managing director of the Trinsic Residential Group, said the proposed development would be attractive not only to people who already live in Lantana, but to those who work in West Palm Beach or Boca Raton.
“Lantana has a small village feel and you can get to Interstate 95 in five minutes,” he said.
Martinez’s company bought the Peninsula on the Intracoastal in Boynton Beach before construction was finished and the property was in foreclosure. His firm turned the condos into rental units.
“All 70 units were rented for an average of $2,500 a month,” he said. “We sold it to a condo converter.”