New iPic Theater Slated for Downtown Delray

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By Tara Monks The Pineapple Staff Writer The site of the old Delray Beach Library will be redeveloped into an iPic movie theater, according to a recent vote by the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Association. On Thursday August 22, 2013, the CRA Board listened to four development teams competing for a chance to revitalize the Delray Core Business District Fourth & Fifth Avenues site that includes the Old Library Building, the Chamber of Commerce office building and the adjacent public parking lot. After the presentations, the board unanimously agreed to allow iPic Entertainment to construct the new facility. iPic Entertainment intends to develop 4th & 5th Delray, a mixed-use complex comprised of a three-story building containing 42,900 square feet of Class A office space, a 41,400 square-foot iPic Entertainment venue, 7,300 square feet of ground-level retail and 279 parking spaces. According to the developer’s RFP response, the “ensemble of luxury office space, small-scale retail space, ample parking and a signature movie entertainment venue specifically and thoroughly addresses the targeted uses as outlined in the RFP, and the planning vision articulated in Delray’s Master Plan and related planning studies.” Connor Lynch, past Chair of the Planning and Zoning Board for Delray Beach, is a strong supporter of the iPic development, and spoke as an advocate during the Thursday night meeting. In a phone interview, he described the development as “exactly what Delray Beach needs,” relating the unique, eclectic design of the complex to the equally vibrant buildings, businesses and atmosphere that “Delray is made of.” As the centerpiece of the complex, the 529-seat theater will occupy 35,600 square feet of ground level space, with a 5,800 square foot mezzanine. The venue will contain eight theaters that flank a two-story lobby space with an upscale cocktail lounge and iPic’s restaurant Tanzy Express. Public art and outdoor space, including a 10,000 square-foot rooftop space with open terrace and garden, will be included in the layout as well. The 42,900 square feet of office space will span two floors and be divided into approximately six through-floor suites. iPic Entertainment plans to relocate their corporate headquarters from Boca Raton to 4th & 5th Delray, bringing their current 35 employees and hiring an additional 30. DonorCommunity, Inc. has also committed to relocating its corporate headquarters from Sunrise, Florida. The information technology firm will occupy 7,000 square feet and hire an additional 18 employees over 5 years following the move. The remaining 15,900 square feet of leasable office space is speculated to attract financial service, technology or educational media industries. Several New York City-based hedge fund firms have also expressed interest in pursuing negotiations regarding the remaining space. The retail portion of the development is expected to assist with the rejuvenation of the character and purpose of the SE 4th Avenue corridor. The proposal places the 7,300 square feet of retail beneath the architecturally dramatic parking garage, thus lining the avenue with attractive storefronts. The space will be targeted to trendy soft good merchants, such as apparel, housewares and similar comparison goods. As the RFP required, the new complex will include 50 free parking spaces for the public among its 279 total spaces. The developer’s traffic engineer consultant, MacKenzie Engineering and Planning Inc., designed an answer to the complex’s, as well as the city’s, parking needs to offer a lot that will “meet and exceed the project’s parking demand at peak times,” according to the project proposal. The developer claims to accommodate the 50 free public parking spaces and yield a surplus of 34 parking spaces during the weekday peak hours and 67 extra on the weekend evening peak periods. The additional parking will undoubtedly be needed, as iPic Entertainment alone is expected to draw at least the equivalent of its Boca Raton counterpart that draws around 30,000 visitors per month. And as the pedestrian- friendly streetscape expands with the addition of retail and office space, additional visitors are expected to enter the downtown area on a regular basis. 4th & 5th Delray will create an estimated 421 permanent quality jobs to Delray Beach’s downtown economy. The construction of the project will generate approximately 400 temporary jobs. The permanent employment figure includes approximately 200 skilled and unskilled positions related directly to the operation of the theater, over 221 professional positions associated to the office space and an estimated eight jobs associated to the retail component of the project, according to the proposal. iPic Entertainment intends to construct the whole project in a single phase, to commence within 60 days of the final project approvals. As iPic Entertainment is capable of self-funding the development cost, there is minimal risk of delay due to financing. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2016.