Atlantic Crossing project remains in limbo

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
Atlantic Crossing will likely be decided by the courts.
Delray commissioners recently voted down a proposed change to the 9-acre redevelopment project intended to help alleviate congestion.
That means the project remains status quo. The site plan to add apartments, offices, restaurants and shops along East Atlantic Avenue has been approved. A federal lawsuit filed by the developers alleging the city has improperly delayed the project from moving forward will likely proceed through the legal motions.
In a last effort to prevent litigation from moving ahead, the developers submitted changes to the project that they believed would appease commissioners and residents. The proposal involved adding a road, at the request of the city, that connects Northeast Seventh Avenue to Northeast Sixth Avenue. It also included redesigning the valet area, hiring a person to coordinate traffic flow during loading and unloading periods and promised to shut down the valet service if too many vehicles are in the queue.
If the changes were approved, they likely would have led to a settlement agreement in the lawsuit.
The change won over support from Commissioners Al Jacquet and Jordana Jarjura.
“I really think it is time for us to move forward,” Jacquet said. “The roadway makes sense to me. The movability around the site is much better than it was. The experts have spoken. It’s time that we put this behind us and move on.”
The road was supported by independent traffic experts and city staff.
But the proposal was too little, too late for a majority of the commission. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioners Mitch Katz and Shelly Petrolia voted against the proposal.
“I understand that the developer said he is trying to make this work so we can move forward,” Katz said. “I just don’t think that there has been enough give in the give and take.”
Glickstein said he had asked for the road years ago and was told by the developers it couldn’t be done. He said his experience with the development team could be summed up in two words “missed opportunities.”
“I have struggled mightily with this thing for a very long time,” he said of the project. “It is unfortunate we are here again debating this same project.”
He said he was elected to manage growth and risk and make hard decisions. Ultimately, he said the project has too many issues for him to support.
The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in federal court in October.
Editor’s note: Jeff Perlman is associated with the company behind Atlantic Crossing.