After multiple failed attempts to solidify plans to redevelop several blocks of West Atlantic Avenue in The Set, the newly comprised Community Redevelopment Agency board is looking to hash out a new deal with a developer who already pitched a project idea.
City commissioners, who now also serve as agency board members, agreed to look into an offer proposed by Equity Delray chairman John Flynn.
In a letter dated April 9, Flynn writes to the agency that he is still interested in the property and constructing a previously approved project “Uptown Delray.”
The project planned to bring places to live, offices, shops, restaurants and a grocery store to the 600-800 blocks of West Atlantic Avenue. But when it came time to close on the deal, Equity backed out.
Now, they want the agency to consider revising the agreement and moving forward.
For several months, the agency’s staff has been working on issuing a new request for proposal to see if new developers are interested in building.
Agency board members ultimately decided to see if the Equity deal could be worked out to possibly save time versus sending the property out to bid again. Equity had received several design approvals from the city already.
Board member Shelly Petrolia pushed for negotiating with Equity as a way to move the process along quicker. She said it was worth a shot to see if the project can get back on track instead of starting completely over.
She called the project exciting and a great project.
But not everyone agreed with her. Board member Ryan Boylston said he would like to see a new request for proposals issued.
“We are going to get a lot of quality applicants with some very innovative projects,” he said. “The Set is now a rebranded area. Delray continues to be on the rise. I want to make sure we continue to move forward.”
He said the city “dodged a bullet” when the Equity deal didn’t go through.
“I don’t think that project is right,” he said, adding it isn’t aligned with any visions he has seen proposed for The Set.
The Uptown Project was also submitted under the city’s old development regulations. New projects would be subject to the current building rules.
Agency staff will work to negotiate with Equity for no more than 90 days. The agency legally has to submit a public notice for 30 days, which will allow other interested developers time to submit their ideas.
Board members can choose to proceed with Equity if a deal can be agreed upon or issue a new request for proposals. Staff estimates the proposal process will take between nine months and a year to select a new developer.