West Palm Beach city commissioners approve Rybovich high-rise condo project, 1,000 units expected

Condo approval concerns nearby residents

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - Months of planning, discussing and modifying a high-rise condo project came to an end on Monday as West Palm Beach city commissioners voted 4-1 to allow Rybovich to build six large condo towers near the water of North Flager.

The project is set to bring in 1,000 condo units through six high-rise condo towers. Developers also are proposing to make space for restaurants, offices and retail units.

The housing facility is set to go in on the east side of North Flagler Drive between 38th and 40th street.

“The deep pockets of this project were going to prevail and I think there’s a lot to be said for the positive things it could do for the community," said Willa Porter, who lives feet from the incoming project. "I think the real concern of the community has been the density.“

Porter is concerned the area cannot handle such a large influx of new residents to the area. She feels some city commissioners are overlooking the logistics of the housing project given the only access to the condos are a two-lane road.

“They think this is a good idea and it’s really disappointing for someone who cares about the neighborhood,” said Porter.

Porter is also concerned the school just across the street will not mix with the added traffic.

“They’re concerned. You know change is always something to worry about. But we’ll work with them and try to make this a better community for all of us,” said Carlos Vidueira, vice president of Rybovich.

Speaking to both commissioners and residents on Monday night Vidueira promised to listen to concerns as his company moves forward. He hopes those who are worried can see the benefits to the entire community.

"It's going to cause a tension in a positive way, bringing people for the businesses downtown, restaurants downtown, giving our city a chance to experience some growth," said William Roger Cummings, a downtown real estate agent.

Unaffiliated with the project, Cummings said the condo project will not only bring jobs and tourism dollars, but also much needed attention from other developers.
 Porter said she hopes she is wrong about her concerns but is not convinced and hopes some changes can be made before it is too late.

“Their reach has exceeded their grasp in terms of what is really appropriate for this community," said Porter.

Rybovich said the next step is marketing the project to find investors. Rybovich VP Carlos Vidueira feels confident major changes will be seen in the very near future.