Atlantic Crossing Project Approved

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By Rigel Herman The Pineapple Staff Writer On Tuesday, January 21, the Delray City Commission approved the nine acres of East Atlantic Avenue that will comprise Atlantic Crossing. The $200 million redevelopment project will consist of shops, offices, restaurants and apartments. The privately funded reconstruction has been a heavily debated subject among city officials and residents. The approval is a frustrating loss for many who fought to keep the project from becoming reality. Some impassioned citizens even commissioned their own studies of the area as leverage to have the project terminated. However, according to a legal memorandum stating the City Commission’s elements of consideration for the approval or denial of the project, these studies could not legally be factors in the decision making process. While City Commissioner Adam Frankel thinks it was “great” that residents conducted these studies, he felt that “it was beyond the scope of what I could look at.” Legally, the commissioners were allowed to consider only matters of code and conduct as well as relevant evidentiary testimony. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Shelly Petrolia, who voted against the construction, were fearful that the project would “bombard Atlantic Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods with traffic that would impede the residents safety and ability to get around town.” It took more than a decade for local entrepreneur and philanthropist Carl DeSantis to assemble the property, which includes the existing Atlantic Plaza. In a joint venture with The Edwards Companies, Atlantic Crossing is on track to explore the area’s potential, bringing jobs, new tax revenues and an a new mixed-use destination to Downtown Delray; considerations the commissioners who voted in favor of the project could not say no to. Don DeVere, Vice President of The Edwards Companies, said, “The vision from the start was to give Atlantic Crossing a distinct sense of place, authentic to the character of Delray and woven seamlessly into the existing downtown. Every aspect has been designed to complement the eclectic charm, walkability, and city life that’s evolved naturally in Downtown Delray, while adding some new dimensions to the experience.” The convenience for those who live and work at Atlantic Crossing will include numerous transportation options including bike and car shares and shuttles, DeVere noted. Within Atlantic Crossing there will be a group of 6 restaurants and about 15 specialty shops. “We’ve had very strong interest from prospective restaurant, retail and office tenants, based on Delray’s appeal and the uniqueness of this particular location. Our goal is to find those that are the very best fit for Delray,” DeVere said. The final plan for Atlantic Crossing, DeVere said, is the result of adopting many community suggestions and trips back to the drawing board. “We recognize that redeveloping this site is a once-in-a- generation opportunity. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly. We’ll continue to work hard to see that Atlantic Crossing is a welcome addition to Delray.” Says Commissioner Frankel, “I believe Atlantic Crossing, when complete, will be a jewel for the entire city of Delray Beach. The improvements that this group is bringing to such a critical area will be nothing less than world class. In the economic climate that we’re in, these individuals are willing to spend $200 million; this group can’t be thanked enough for the employment opportunities and overall improvements they’re bringing to our town.”