NEW: Developer plans shops, restaurants, senior care in Royal Palm

A long-stagnant piece of land has given birth to a new neighborhood during the past year — and there’s more to come, with commercial development set to bring more businesses to the already bustling Southern Boulevard corridor through the western communities.

The Cypress Key project includes the townhouses and single-family homes behind it and sits just east of the Publix shopping plaza at Forest Hill and Southern boulevards.

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So far, plans for the commercial portion of Cypress Key include several shops and restaurants, including a drive-through. The proposal now before Royal Palm Beach officials also includes a daycare and an assisted-living facility.

It’s the senior-care portion of the project that has Royal Palm Mayor Fred Pinto most excited.

“We’re looking forward to having that to provide care for seniors,” he said.

Cypress Key originally was proposed in the early-2000s as a mixed-use development with apartments sitting above shops and restaurants, plus townhouses and single-family homes. But the property went into foreclosure, and eventually was bought by developer K. Hovnanian in 2013.

READ: Why hasn’t RaceTrac in Royal Palm Beach opened?

The new plan has the residential portion of the project — a combined effort of townhouses built by K. Hovnanian and single-family homes from developer D.R. Horton — sitting farther back from Southern Boulevard, with the commercial side closer to the thoroughfare.

It’s that commercial side of the project that now is moving through approval with Royal Palm Beach. The site plan has been approved, so officials and the developer now are ironing out items such as architectural details and landscaping.

On the retail side, Royal Palm Beach Planning and Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said Starbucks has shown interest in the drive-through but also is considering moving to a planned development on the south side of Southern Boulevard just west of Lowe’s.

At its meeting Thursday night, the village council unanimously approved a request for the Cypress Key senior-living facility not to face Southern Boulevard, and to have the side that does face Southern Boulevard feature windows smaller than those required by Royal Palm Beach, to protect the patients inside.

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“Our first floor is primarily going to be inhabited by residents with Alzheimer’s and special-care needs,” architect Christopher Ressler with Studio Plus told the council Thursday. He added that while each room will have a window, the window size required by the village for a facility larger than 20,000 square feet is more suitable for retail than senior-care.

“What we are recommending is much more in line with a residential facility,” Ressler said.

Council members also unanimously approved the architectural plans for the facility, which planning documents show would be 88,000 square feet and have the potential to house 114 people. After the vote, Pinto wished Ressler luck with the project, saying, “We have senior citizens in our village who told us clearly that they’re not getting any younger.”

Bradford said the village has seen recent market studies that show there is a demand for senior housing in Royal Palm Beach.

“We try to be responsive to our residents,” he said.

The assisted-living facility also will have more than 10,000 square feet of outdoor recreational space, including two Bocce ball courts, a putting green and a courtyard, according to planning documents. The daycare planned for Cypress Key would have 210 students and be 12,500 square feet.

Developer Rod Sheldon declined to comment on his plans, citing his company’s policy.

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