By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Office Depot announced it was leaving its corporate headquarters in Delray Beach more than a decade ago.
Reminders of the company’s presence on Congress Avenue still linger as the properties have remained vacant ever since 2008.
Now, Centerpointe Delray Holdings, LLLP has plans to turn the large empty buildings into a mixed use development that many have advocated for to spark new growth and uses in the city’s Congress Corridor.
Plans call for condos, townhomes, apartments, offices, restaurants and shops to fill the 48 acres of land.
“It’s one of the larger properties we have left for redevelopment in the city,” Delray Planning, Zoning and Building Director Tim Stillings said.
To begin the redevelopment process, an attorney for the developer asked for a zoning change. The change would reduce what the developer could actually build on the property under the current zoning laws.
“What we could do and what we are proposing to do is significantly less,” attorney Bonnie Miskel told commissioners. “We are giving up about half of what we could have done under the original plan.”
“I never heard of a developer who wants to downsize their development,” Commissioner Shirley Johnson said.
Commissioners supported the zoning change after developers addressed concerns about traffic on Germantown Road.
Commissioner Bill Bathurst, who sat on the Congress Avenue Task Force, a group in charge of working to create a vision for the area, said the plans are in line with what the task force envisioned for the corridor.
Commissioners agreed that the area has been vacant long enough.
“Forty eight acres that has been sitting dormant for 10 years is unheard of,” Commissioner Johnson said.
Commissioner Ryan Boylston agreed, “It’s rare you get an oppportunity to vote on a rezoning that aligns with your city’s plans. It’s replacing a 20th century economic development model with a 21st century economic model. This is a slam dunk. I am really excited to move this forward.”