June 2, 2017

To:   Honorable Mayor and City Council of Boca Raton:

Please request the following from City Staff so you may have a better understanding of residential occupancy and its effect on the downtown. Applications for more residential units must be viewed in context with what currently exists and what will exist at current build out.  My goal is to help you make a considered decision on any new residential applications.

QUESTIONS

1) What is the total number of completed residential units in the downtown as of June 1, 2017?

2)   What is the current number of inhabited vs vacant completed units in the downtown?  Please list all projects: i.e. Palmetto Promenade, Via Mizner etc.  We must understand the effects of what full occupancy will mean to the downtown community.

3) What is the total number of residential units currently under construction and/or permitted to begin construction in the downtown as of 6/1/2017?

4)  Total lines 1 and 3 and show the % of line 1 makes up of line 3.  This will provide a numeric visual of what we can look forward to upon completion of all buildings in the current queue.

5)    What known or proposed projects are entering the process i.e. Mizner 200 (+/- 130) and Royal Palm Plaza (+/- 1,000) and how will their cumulative totals affect the % of increase over the totals provided on line 4.

I believe our elected officials and the public have no illustrative way to interpret the possible effects of current in plan and what future development will have on the downtown.

An accurate accounting now will help plan future development and allow for a reasonable developmental pace moving forward.  Ask yourselves, will the public accept a 30%, 40% or 50% increase over what we experience now regarding traffic and parking?

The notion: “Because we can, we should build.” is lunacy.

Just because a building follows code does not mean it should be approved, were that so, there would be no end to building.  A developers future opportunity will be there if and when it is determined all aspects and elements of a proposed project WORK for our community.

I am not suggesting Mizner 200 should not be built only that we need an accounting of where we are to date so the COMMUNITY is more able to accept the numbers and their effect on the whole of the downtown. Once concrete is poured there is no turning back.

I ask that the Council wait to have all the facts before a decision is made on ANY future project.  The most important FACT will be what we experience from the effects from complete and inhabited buildings.

Determining future acceptability cannot be made out of a book. Let’s take a break for the betterment of everyone.

Respectfully,

James Hendrey

Publisher’s Comment:

The golden rule in real estate generally is ‘location, location, location’. In downtown Boca Raton real estate, an additional element exists; to wit: ‘timing, timing, timing’. Over the last few week, there has been some controversy over the upcoming July CRA meeting to approve or not the Mizner 200 project. Issues such as traffic impact, parking, safety, shadows, and vistas are the voiced concerns. Mizner 200 is a 384 unit condominium increasing the current unit total by 134 units. Cautions have been raised that a redevelopment of Royal Palm Place will substantially increase impacts for the traffic, parking and safety concerns.

Tomorrow, the first submittal for a Royal Palm Plaza redevelopment at 194 Southeast 1st Ave. is set for a preliminary review under the Interim Design Guidelines amendment and Ordinance 5052. This submittal will consist of two (2) new residential buildings with a total of 289 units; 15,716 SF Retail (High) and structured parking. The maximum height of both towers are not to exceed 140 feet with additional architectural features not to exceed 18 feet 6 inches. Per the submittal, the building is designed per the IDG requirements and meets the dictates of Ordinance 4035 volumetric requirements. Seriously folks, you can’t make this stuff up. Timing for bringing this forward could not be more appropriate for a full debate and understanding of the arguments for denial of Mizner 200.

Al Zucaro