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West Atlantic project draws concern over land deal

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 19:33:59-05

The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency chose BH3 to develop a section of West Atlantic Avenue on Tuesday. The decision comes with some concern over BH3 not paying any money for the city-owned land.

The three block, six-acre plot from SW 6th St. to SW 9th St. was appraised at $17 million. Four of the five developers that presented to the CRA board were offering around $4 million for the land. BH3 had no money for the land.

BH3 is offering to build apartments, a grocery store, parking garages, and an open concept shopping area called “Frog Alley.” A lawyer for BH3 said they plan to build the project with private funding and no tax dollars.

“I was confused on how BH3 got that choice,” said Delray resident Krystina Buckley.

Buckley said she was concerned about the BH3 being awarded the project with no payment for the land.

“Are we just going to give away our land, that is what represents us now, we just give away things?” asked Buckley.

Commissioner Adam Frankel said he voted for BH3 because they offered what they city was looking for, a destination. He said while BH3 isn’t offering money for the land, the project offers community benefits and impact.

“To me, I would rather the money go back into the 700 parking spaces or the actual construction,” said Frankel.

CRA board member Angie Gray said she did not vote for BH3 and hopes the price of the value of the land will be brought up during contract negotiations.

“I was hoping we could negotiate and bring it back to the table and ask for something for the land,” said Gray.

Chuck Ridley with West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition said he supports the project, buts want it to benefit the West Atlantic neighborhood.

“We will only be OK if this is built in an equitable manner,” said Ridley.

The city and BH3 will negotiate a contract int he next 60 days and the CRA board will give final vote once that is done.