Atlantic Crossing developers file amended suit, request summary judgment

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Delray Beach’s legal battle with Atlantic Crossing redevelopment project is still in full force.

The developers of Atlantic Crossing, Edwards Companies, received approval from the state court to file an amended lawsuit on Dec. 9. The 84-page amended suit was filed on Dec. 14. The city has 30 days to respond.

The amended suit possibly places the city at risk for an estimated $40 million in financial damages and legal bills. The amended suit asserts 21 claims for injunctive relief and adds monetary damages.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision,” said Edwards Companies COO Dean Kissos. “While we remain hopeful to resolve issues amicably with the city, these two downtown city blocks are crucial to Delray Beach’s future. Whether through resolution or litigation, we remain fully committed to protecting our property rights and delivering on the site’s potential.” 

Several city commissioners voiced their joy on social media when a federal suit with monetary damages was dismissed by a judge in July. The monetary damages being added to the state suit could put the city back at risk as the federal suit did.

The federal suit may not be totally dead either. The developers have also appealed two counts they maintain were improperly dismissed by the federal court, related to “improper taking” and “lack of due process” based on the city’s actions. 

They also filed a 25-page summary judgment, which asks the state court to declare the developers the rightful owner of the alleyways, require the city to issue final site plan certification and plat approval and determine if the city is liable for breach of contract by improperly attempting to reconvey the alleyways and Seventh Avenue back to the city.

Atlantic Crossing is a redevelopment project that will bring apartments, offices, restaurants and shops to 9 acres of East Atlantic Avenue. The plans received commission approval in January 2014. The project did not request any variances or waivers from the city’s development rules.

The lawsuits began in 2015 when the developers alleged that the city was improperly delaying the project from moving forward. The suits started in state court and then were bumped up to federal court. Now, there could be legal proceedings in both courts.

Interim city attorney R. Max Lohman could not be reached for comment despite a phone call to the city attorney’s office. The city is using outside legal counsel to help with ligitation. Typically, the city doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.

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