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Delray Beach community celebrates win as CRA board votes down low bid on land for development

Posted: 10:49 PM, Aug 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-16 08:30:04Z

The bid to move forward with a below market value bid to redevelop land in Delray Beach failed Wednesday night and will go back to the drawing board. 

Within The Set neighborhood sits three blocks spanning 600-800 West Atlantic Avenue. The more than six acres are appraised at $15 million. The Delray Beach commissioners, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), voted down the $2 million sale, 4-3. They will instead go through the conventional request for proposal process or RFP.

“I think, you know what I’m saying, some of the commissioners, they listened to the community and they really fought for the community,” said Timothy Boykin, who lives in The Set.

The deal was originally agreed to back in 2013 with Uptown Atlantic but it ultimately failed. Reggie Cox was the CRA chair back then. 

“They basically were not able to attain the financing that was pursuant to the agreement,” Cox said. 

This year Uptown asked to get back in the deal, what’s called an unsolicited proposal. The city took a series of bids. Uptown’s bid was $2 million-the lowest. The highest was $6 million. 

“For six acres, an unsolicited proposal, that’s just really unheard of probably anywhere,” Cox said. 

Controversially, the city agreed the lowest bid. 

A frustrated Mayor Shelly Petrolia explained her position. She paused several times, upset with opposing community members speaking out of turn. She argues the deal with Uptown would be built the quickest in an area desperate for redevelopment. 

“What registers to me is that we are going to get something started on West Atlantic finally,” she said, addressing the public Wednesday. 

By a razor-thin margin, 4-3, the board agreed with the citizens and approved the classic RFP process. 

“What you saw tonight was an engaged community, a persistent community, time after time again telling this commission, telling the CRA, you need to do it the right way,” Cox said. 

The lawyer representing the $6 million bidders, BH3, says they plan on entering RFP process. 

They’re excited for a level playing field.