Residents can expect to see the start of construction of the Riverwalk Plaza redevelopment come January.
Isram Realty, the owners of the plaza at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Woolbright Road, will divide the project into four phases , with the 10-story apartment building being the last piece. That’s not expected to start until the end of next year.
Construction on Phase 1 will begin by mid-January. That phase will give the Walgreens and Jo-Ann Fabric building a face lift, said Shaul Rikman, chairman and founder of Isram.
City Commissioners gave Isram the approval in January to build a 10-story apartment building with 326 apartments where an empty Winn-Dixie sits on the Intracoastal Waterway. The approval ended nearly two years of a passionate and at times rowdy debate about the project — specifically its height and extra traffic that will likely come with it.
But Rikman said he’s received a more friendly response since.
“We’re definitely seeing a shift in community and the city in trying to move this forward into a project that’s going to beneficial for everybody,” he said.
In addition to demolishing the Winn-Dixie and Bond and Smolders bakery building and putting the apartments in their place, the project calls for a renovation of the strip that houses Walgreens and Jo-Ann Fabrics, creating a commercial building fronting Federal Highway, and demolition of the strip center that houses restaurants such as Primo Hoagies, Josie’s Ristorante, Sushi Simon and Rice Fine Thai restaurants.
Some of the restaurants plan to stay within the plaza.
Bond and Smolders and Sushi Simon will move to the Walgreens building. The laundromat will close and the nail place will stay. Rice will be leaving. Primo Hoagies has already moved to Cross Creek center at 1313 W. Boynton Beach Blvd. across from the Dunkin’ Donuts. Wendy’s is staying. Isram is still negotiating with Josie’s, Rikman said.
Prime Catch is not owned by Isram and not involved in the renovation.
Rikman decided to start the project with renovating the Walgreens building to accommodate the existing tenants. Phase 1 is expected to be completed within five to six months.
Phase 2, the new retail building, is expected to begin after that and be completed by the end of next year.
The demolitions should start in the spring.
Phase 3 is site improvements such as re-configuring the parking areas. Phase 4 is the new residential building, parking garage and public space. That’s expected to start late 2018 and will take about 18 to 24 months to finish, Rikman said.