Boynton Beach outlines money, design plans for Town Square downtown

5:19 p.m Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 Local
E2L Real Estate Solutions is proposing a hotel and retail on Boynton Beach and Seacrest boulevards in Boynton Beach. Photo handout: E2L Real Estate Solutions

Boynton Beach and its plans for a walkable, lively downtown got a huge boost this week, gaining support for its couple hundred million dollar, 16-acre Town Square redevelopment project from a city advisory board and the County Commission.

About four blocks off Boynton Beach Boulevard east of Interstate 95 where the historic high school, library and police station sit will be transformed into a town center with new and modern public buildings such as a city hall and fire station, a 40,000-square-foot amphitheater, parks, parking garages and apartments, a hotel and retail space.

It’s ambitious and dynamic, but also expensive.

The project is a private, public partnership and Boynton has to come up with about $133 million for its part. The city will give $52 million via private equity bonding to be paid off over 25 years. The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will pay the rest — nearly $81 million — over 25 years with the tax revenue it receives from the county. When that money is used for public administrative buildings and a fire station — statute requires all taxing authorities involved approve it. The county signed off on the plan in a 7-0 vote.

Meanwhile, the city’s planning and development advisory board gave the project’s master plan its first official “go ahead,” which will serve as a recommendation to the city commissioners when they vote in February.

“We’re making progress. Slowly but surely making progress ,” said Assistant City Manager Colin Groff, a project manager. “Like I tell everybody, it’s all of us working together.”

Town Square will include a new four-story city hall and library, and a new fire station. The historic high school is under construction will be reinvented as a cultural arts and civic center. The Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center will remain. Also, a district energy plant will provide cold water for air conditioning through a central chilled water plant.

The police station will be demolished and a new one will be built off Town Center, farther north at the southeast corner of Gateway Boulevard and High Ridge Road next to Fire Station 5 which is also the emergency operations center. The station will be two stories and 53,800 square feet on city-owned land.

The private part of the project — to be built by JKM Developers and E2L Real Estate Solutions — calls for 705 residential units in three buildings.

The developer plans to include workforce housing, which means in return the city allows for a height bonus.

Also, a 120-room hotel is proposed to be at the corner of Boynton Beach Boulevard and Seacrest Boulevard.

A breakdown of costs for the public portion of the project, expected to be complete by September 2019:

* Two parking lots: $32.8 million

* New city hall and library: $26.9 million

* New police station on High Ridge Road: $21.6 million

* Historic high school renovation: $10.5 million

* District energy plant: $10.4 million

* New fire station : $4.8 million

* Demolition costs: $2 million