500 Ocean, catalyst for Boynton’s downtown, won’t be done until summer


500 Ocean won’t be completed until this summer, but residents are already moving in and businesses are leasing space.

The project’s spokesman said Tuesday that 37 apartments are already occupied. The project will ultimately have 341 apartments. And, of the project’s 20,000 square feet of commercial space, about 2,000 is leased. Two businesses will move in to provide high-end women’s care such as hair and nails, said 500 Ocean representative Tom Hayden at Tuesday’s Community Redevelopment Agency meeting.

That was the good news from Hayden.

The bad news: The project, which was originally supposed to be completed this past June, and then by this month, won’t be done until next June.

“When we got into the land, we found everything but Jimmy Hoffa,” Hayden said.

Plus, he said, it’s just a very complex building.

Construction on the development at Federal Highway and Ocean Avenue started in July 2015. Residents and the city’s leaders have been anxious for 500 Ocean’s completion because it’s expected to be the catalyst for downtown. Across the street at the southeast corner of Boynton Beach Boulevard and Federal, developers will build Ocean One apartments and retail. The Villages at East Ocean Avenue will be more homes and commercial space in two sections divided by Ocean Avenue west of Federal Highway.

And then there’s Town Square, about 16 acres off Boynton Beach Boulevard that includes City Hall, the historic high school, the library and the police station, which all will be rebuilt.

“I believe it was your commitment to Boynton and building there that spurred these other developments coming along,” Commissioner Joe Casello told Hayden.

While Casello didn’t mind the extension, Mayor Steven Grant was less enthusiastic.

“Your client signed a contract and you have to be stuck to that contract. We’re giving away money by extending it for nothing,” Grant said.

The CRA signed off on $4.39 million in incentives to the developer over the next 10 years. The money will come from tax revenue that’s expected to rise once the land increases in value because of the construction.

Grant said by extending the construction deadline, the CRA will have to wait to get the additional tax revenue.

Casello said this will be a $70 million project and called the conversation “ridiculous.”



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