NEW: Timeline announced for Boynton’s massive Town Square project

4:23 p.m Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 Local
Rendering of the new fire department with the Town Square redevelopment. (Handout: City in October 2017)

The renovation of Boynton’s historic high school is underway and and is expected to be completed by August 2018 as one part of the $250 million Town Square project that will transform 16.5 acres of city-owned land into “Boynton Beach’s family room,” Assistant City Manager Colin Groff said Wednesday.

At Wednesday night’s public workshop, city officials and the Town Square redevelopment team — E2L Real Estate Solutions — gave an updated timeline on the plans.

Construction begins in March for the new police and fire stations and in June for the parking garage and city hall and library. The target date for completion of the entire public part of the project is September 2019.

The land stretches from Boynton Beach Boulevard south to Southeast Second Avenue, and from Seacrest Boulevard east to Northeast First Street. For about 20 years, the city has been talking about transforming this area. Groff said the 16.5 acres will be the city’s “family room,” and a center for residents and visitors to eat, work, play and even live.

Construction began in August on the two-story historic high school that will be turned into a civic and cultural arts center. That portion of the project is expected to be completed by August 2018 and open to the public in September. Private entities will be able to rent space for functions such as weddings, parties and corporate events. The development team said the building could fit about 600 people, and there is not a facility similar to this in size from Jupiter to Fort Lauderdale.

About 75 percent of demolition work is completed inside the school. Crews cleaned up lead paint, asbestos, mold and mildew. The building will have a new roof and new wood floors, but “will look very similar to the way it was built 75 to 80 years ago,” said Jeff Hardin, owner of Straticon Construction.

“It’s actually going very well,” Hardin said. “It’s just going to look amazing. It’s going to be quite a facility when we’re done.”

Town Square will be built as a private-public partnership. City officials estimate they will be responsible for about $125 million for all the buildings and two parking garages. They’ll come up with that money from private bonds that will be paid back over 25 years, some cash, some land sales, and some revenue from leasing space on the properties, said Groff.

Private entities will build residential units and a four- or five-story hotel, which will have up to 150 rooms, at the corner of Boynton Beach and Seacrest boulevards. An eight-story apartment complex is planned at Northeast First Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard. To the south of that is a six-story building and at the far south end of the project is a three-story building.

The project calls for a new building to house City Hall and a modern, technologically advanced library. The Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center will stay as is.

The Kids’ Kingdom playground will be preserved as much as possible, and likely expanded. Also, the project will include a $10 million, two-story District Energy Plant that will provide cold water for air conditioning through a central chilled water plant. There will be two parking garages to look more residential (and one might even have a screen to watch movies or television), surface parking, open space, parks, an amphitheater and retail space.

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