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By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of Delray Beach met virtually yesterday, Tuesday, May 26th, and among other items discussed was the project on the SW 600 – 800 blocks of West Atlantic Avenue. In January the developer was put on notice, now they have asked for an extension, and a new workshop will be scheduled.

Fabrik, development, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The new plans call the project Fabrik, and reduced the retail space from 50,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, image rendering.

The real estate firm BH3 Managment LLC is based in Miami and was awarded the project in 2019 to redevelop six acres on Atlantic Avenue from 6th to 8th Avenue. However in January, the developer was put on notice after the Delray Beach CRA Board disapproved of BH3’s proposal.

The Notice of Default was formally sent to BH3 on January 29th and under the contract agreement, as amended, BH3 was given a thirty-day period to cure the Default.

Neil Schiller represents BH3 and said new plans were submitted to the CRA in late February. “We heard the community and we heard the commission loud and clear,” said Schiller at the time.

The new plans call the project Fabrik and reduced the retail space from 50,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. The once-proposed 261 apartments has been cut to 167 units.

However all were not in agreement, and due to the coronavirus closures and individual conversations with commissioners, there was a lack of clarity and alignment voiced. Several committee members asked for a workshop to get everyone back together and aligned.

In the meeting Mayor Shelly Petrolia said a workshop was needed because, “just by some of the comments, especially by Vice Chair, Shirley Johnson’s comments, about not really understanding where this is going next, and how we’re not actually seeing this to make comments.”

Schiller responded, “I would completely concur, we would love to have a workshop with the board, we’d love to get the board’s feedback collectively instead of individually. [it would be more] conducive to this discussion rather than just being on the phone and we would love that.”

Fabrik, development, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The new plans call for the once-proposed 261 apartments to be cut to 167 units, image rendering.

Deputy Vice Mayor Shirley Johnson said in closing comments, “I really don’t know the changes, and that you’re just pushing, again, things through, and you’re going to get through the whole process and may get disappointed again.”

Adding, “I know that you’re addressing a whole bunch of issues, but you created those issues, and those questions, so I think that we do need to be on the front end of it, and not on the tail end debate. After you have visit all the other boards is not good enough.”

An unnamed grocery story is in the designs, although there was some questions raised about the viability of the space to attract a grocery store given the reduced retail space. The access to a grocery store in the community was a key driver of the project.

On May 11th, BH3 sent CRA a letter stating they intended to seek an extension due to ‘Force Majeure’. On May 14th, CRA responded and that they would need to obtain the CRA Board’s approval for any extension. The current Approval Date is January 18, 2021.

The next step was for CRA executive director, Renée Jadusingh, to organize an in-person workshop within the next 2-3 weeks. The full agenda for the May 26th regular meeting is available online.

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