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Planned project in Delray Beach near brink of falling apart

Breach of contract dispute could lead to end of mixed-use development project
Posted at 10:46 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 23:46:47-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Community Activist Chris Ceasar stands along Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach looking over his neighborhood.

"For these people, in the most historic neighborhood in Delray, there is literally no place to go and there's nothing to do," he said.

So, when Ceasar heard a developer was considering a project centered around the 600 to 800 blocks of West Atlantic Avenue that includes a Publix, office space, workforce, affordable housing and retail, he was all for it.

"After 40 years of non-development and just buildings being knocked down and open fields, this would be an opportunity for black businesses to move into the infrastructure," he said.

But, at the moment, the project has come to a grinding halt, and the builder, BH3 management, has filed a breach of contract against the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.

"The CRA board has acted unreasonable both in their contractual obligations and as ethical and moral obligations to the community," Greg Freedman, the co-founder of BH3, said.

He said his group needed to extend certain deadlines but claims the CRA would not change the time frame.

"It was always going to change it, just changed in different ways as a result of COVID and a lot of community feedback that we listened to and heard and adjusted," he said.

In December, the CRA board chair said BH3 had come up short after multiple opportunities. WPTV contacted the CRA about the legal action and received a statement saying the Delray Beach CRA, "including the CRA board members and CRA staff, will not be making any comments on the pending BH3 lawsuit."

"I feel good about supporting this project," Ceasar said.

He said his support remains.

"Everything we've asked of these guys, they've delivered," he said.

So, where do they go from here? Freedman said the CRA has 90 days to respond to their complaint. He said it would be a shame for this project to die.