By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Alleging delays, inaction and restriction of development rights, Crocker Partners has placed the city of Boca Raton on notice of its plans to file a $137 million lawsuit over its inability to proceed with the proposed Midtown redevelopment project.
The Boca Raton-based development group owns three properties in the area that is slated for redevelopment—the Boca Center, One Town Center and The Plaza.
Last month, Crocker managing partner Angelo Bianco sent three notices to the city, representative of the company’s three properties, stating its intent to file a suit under the “Bert Harris Act.”
Crocker Partners says it has spent more than two years and more than $1 million toward redeveloping its properties on the site by the Town Center Mall on Military Trail.
“We want to invest in our community,” Bianco said. “This is our home and we can make this a fantastic village within our community.”
The Midtown project would possibly add up to 2,500 units creating a true Planned Mobility District, which the city designated in 2010. Crocker Partners is just one of the many property owners involved in the Midtown project.
Crocker Partners alleges the city has delayed consideration of zoning regulations needed to move forward with the project in its filings multiple times.
“I had no choice,” he said of filing the notice to sue.
Much of the suit, if it is officially filed, will focus on a January meeting where council members voted to require Midtown g o through a “small area plan.”
Crocker viewed the decision as a stalling tactic and another way to delay the project again because a “small area plan” has not been required of any of the other planned mobility districts in the city.
“Clearly, at that point, I realized the direction of he city was not to allow any development,” Bianco said.
He said the lawsuit is a no-win situation for him. If he wins, he knows the suit will cost the taxpayers millions and if he loses, his investors will be out money.
But, he said he was left no choice but to file the notice. The law requires a 150 day period before a lawsuit under the Bert Harris Act is officially adopted.