This site has evolved into a self-proclaimed “resident friendly” place. Resident friendly can have many definitions, and no-one can say for certain what is or is not resident friendly. Subjectivity reigns. I think, however, that there is a metric that can define those words.

Developers are gamblers. They look at a project with the sole purpose of making money, lots of money. Nothing wrong with that. It is the American way. So, let’s look at a make-believe project. A developer acquires one or more contiguous city blocks. He believes he can make a fortune by building an apartment building or condominium. His (or her) architect designs the biggest, largest, most unit building allowed under code. Perhaps even more than code by requesting variances, either before approval or perhaps after.

And so, this massive building is built. To some it is nice looking, to others ugly. It is not important, what is important is its usage. If the apartment building immediately fills, and occupancy approaches 90 or 100 percent, it can be argued that the housing was needed, or wanted; that people wanted downtown housing and therefore by logical extension this project is ‘resident friendly’ since 100 percent of the occupants are, or become residents ! Conversely, if the project fails to attract occupants, the developer (development) fails, and you can be sure he does not build a second, and other developers take note.

The marketplace should ultimately determine what is or is not ‘resident friendly’. If all these developments fill up with new residents, should we not reconsider our demographics? Perhaps people (our ‘residents’), and new residents, wish to relocate from a suburban setting (think midtown) to an urban setting (think downtown), When locating downtown, they know there are parking issues, possible congestion, traffic, and still they come (or don’t). Allow the developers to succeed, indicated by high occupancy, or fail, the converse. Either way, in the long term, residents win. You (we) may just have to re-define “resident friendly”.

– Joe Borrow

Editor’s Note: This article is a resident contributed article, graciously donated by Joe Borrow who filled out our “Submit Your Article” form. If you’re a Boca Raton resident, a student in Boca Raton, work or just love to visit, you can contribute your articles too. If you’re interested in writing a series of articles or would like to collaborate with us on the subjects we cover, fill out this form and tell us more.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Definitely an interesting perspective/lens through which to view the concept of “Resident Friendly.” But I’d have to questions how much of an “objective” measure the market really is given that it does not exist in a vacuum and can be manipulated through countless means. I think an example that might challenge the “objectivity” of the market would be something like gentrification or urban renewal. For example, I’d have to imagine the communities, predominantly of color, who continue to be pushed back in Delray as the “Atlantic Ave” scene slowly sprawls in all directions, would not see much of that development as “friendly” despite its economic viability. Some people and interests can use the market as a tool more than others. The cultural and social matter and they cannot be easily separated, I would argue. To take another extreme example, I would point to adult entertainment, which has very strong support from the market but if often erased from physical space because of concerns that are ultimately social and cultural.

  2. “The marketplace should ultimately determine what is or is not ‘resident friendly’.” Mr. Borrow has provided us with a developer’s dream. He sees development through the prism of NEW residents, not those who have lived and worked and invested in Boca for years. “If they will come, build it” might be his mantra. The marketplace will certainly encourage developers to cram the most units in the smallest place for the highest square foot profit. The marketplace cares little for roads, traffic, parking, water and sewer, schools, emergency services, quality of life– those are not the developer’s responsibility, unless required by law. True, the developer is risking his capital, but if he guesses wrong we the residents are left with the residue– in some cases with concrete shells that stand uncompleted for years, or eyesores that are purposely left to fester until the developer win approval for an “economic” project, or eyesores period. Even concrete canyons like Miami or Ft. Lauderdale or Aventura have zoning restrictions. Developers want to develop and move on to the next town or next project. The marketplace is fine with that. Those of us who live and work in Boca need an additional set of checks and balances.

  3. Mr. Gore: My comments in parenthesis

    Mr. Borrow has provided us with a developer’s dream. (Or nightmare if projects are unsuccessful)
    He sees development through the prism of NEW residents, not those who have lived and worked and invested in Boca for years. ( This is a subjective statement as I believe that many people moving into some of these new developments are already residents. Can you prove otherwise?)
    “If they will come, build it” might be his mantra. (You are now in a position to tell me my Mantra ???)
    The marketplace will certainly encourage developers to cram the most units in the smallest place for the highest square foot profit. (The American way. Note that I said “under code”. If you don’t like the code…change it)
    The marketplace cares little for roads, traffic, parking, water and sewer, schools, emergency services, quality of life– those are not the developer’s responsibility, unless required by law. (Quite the contrary. The Marketplace cares most about these issues, and they, and they alone have the power to accept or change it.) True, the developer is risking his capital, but if he guesses wrong we the residents are left with the residue– in some cases with concrete shells that stand uncompleted for years, (scare rhetoric, not based on fact. One case I can recall on Palmetto Road) or eyesores that are purposely left to fester (scare rhetoric, not based on fact) until the developer win approval for an “economic” project, or eyesores period. Even concrete canyons like Miami or Ft. Lauderdale or Aventura have zoning restrictions. (so do we, as I have previously stated ‘according to code’) Developers want to develop and move on to the next town or next project. The marketplace is fine with that. Those of us who live and work in Boca need an additional set of checks and balances. (You are ‘the marketplace’, and as part of it, like it or not, you have the same three choices we all have; accept it, change it, or move) The publisher of this site has chosen to “change it”. If he succeeds, however, whatever happens, the ultimate arbiter will be the marketplace !)

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