12369382079?profile=RESIZE_584xA construction trailer and portable toilet are still visible at the site on Jan. 28. Staff photo

By Anne Geggis

When 2024 dawned and an Ocean Ridge home under construction for the past eight years still wasn’t finished, its owners were on the hook to pay the town $50,000 in addition to the taxes owed on the land.

Failing to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to wrap up the planned construction, Oceandell Holdings LLC, which owns the oceanfront property at 6273 N. Ocean Blvd., was required to make a payment in lieu of taxes by the end of January, according to an amendment to the construction extension agreement dated Jan. 10.

Revised plans submitted to the town in June called for the property owners to apply and obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy by Dec. 31. Failing that, the town was owed $50,000 to help make up for the taxes it would have collected if the project had been completed in 2023, the agreement says.

Town Commissioner Carolyn Cassidy estimates the protracted construction timeline — which has kept the building off the tax rolls — has meant the town has collected one-fourth of the taxes it should have since 2017, considering the difference between taxing vacant land and taxing the same land with a house on it year after year. 

Cassidy is also one of the neighbors to the project.

“We’re all just tired of the construction — lots of trucks parked illegally — and it appeared to be abandoned for a while,” she said.

The latest construction manager seems to have improved things for now, though, she added.

The principal listed as a contact for Oceandell through the state Division of Corporations could not be reached for comment; nor could Andrew Rivkin — who representatives have identified as the owner of the property and who was the Oceandell signatory on the agreement with the town.

Town Clerk Kelly Avery said as of Jan. 29, the payment had not been made.

If the construction drags on past March 15, the owner shall pay the town $5,000 a day for each day that construction continues for “liquidated damages,” according to the agreement signed by the town attorney, clerk and manager. The daily damage assessment would accrue until May 1, potentially a maximum of $235,000 in fines.

That’s a one-month extension from the deadline commissioners approved in September. They had called for the $5,000-a-day penalty to start if construction was not completed by Feb. 15, and capped those fines at $150,000.

The owner recognizes the work “has continued for an extensive period of time and has negatively impacted the neighbors and the town,” the agreement says. “The owner further recognizes that time is of the essence under this agreement and if the March 15 construction deadline … is not satisfied by the owner, the neighbors and the town will continue to be negatively impacted and suffer financial loss.”

When asked, Town Attorney Christy Goddeau did not offer an explanation for the one-month extension, but said that the commission would be updated on the property at February’s meeting.

The project has become known as “the parking garage house” because its front was, at first, allowed to be built without windows. The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s website shows that the 1.13-acre property has been taxed solely for the land value starting in 2017, with the total market value of the land at $9.2 million.

The first building permit for the site was issued in May 2015.

“We’re just trying to do our best to expedite completion … have it be a completed home instead of a construction site,” Cassidy said.

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