- Lulu Ramadan Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
BOCA RATON — A Boca Raton board on Monday approved a plan for nine-story condominium towers near the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown Boca Raton.
The proposed project is from Venezuelan developers who have built luxury condos throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Dubbed 475 Royal Palm, the planned condo complex and accompanying underground parking garage will be built on an office complex on Palmetto Park Road and Southeast Fifth Avenue, just west of the waterfront Silver Palm Park.
The three-tower, 48-unit luxury condominium complex will replace a surface parking lot just south of Morgan Stanley’s Boca Raton headquarters. Underground parking will be shared by Morgan Stanley employees and residents of the condo complex.
Boca Raton’s Community Redevelopment Agency praised the development as a beautiful addition to downtown Boca Raton, although one member - Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke - approved the project with reservations about parking and the addition of students to Boca Raton’s already crowded schools.
Group P6 — a Boca Raton firm headed by Ignacio Diaz, his wife and his brother-in-law, all from Venezuela — are the developers. They also built 327 Royal Palm, a 25-unit condo just south of Palmetto Park Road in downtown Boca.
475 and 327 Royal Palm are two projects in wave of residential developments in Boca Raton’s booming downtown. The city also has approved:
On Monday, a few residents lauded the proposed 427 Royal Palm plan.
“It’s a beautiful property. It’s going to be quite an addition to our neighborhood,” said Fred McNaboe, who owns a property just west of the proposed development.
One resident, Bruce Verstandig, who lives southeast of the planned condo complex, raised concerns about traffic congestion.
“The congestion is getting worse and worse,” Verstandig said of Southeast Fifth Avenue. The developers plan to place speed bumps near the project to slow down traffic.
The Boca board approved the project unanimously with the condition that a voluntary impact fee be paid to the Palm Beach County School District, and that the money specifically go to Boca Raton schools. The exact fee will be suggested by the school district when developers seek permits for the project.
School crowding is an issue that looms over nearly all decisions that go before Boca Raton’s highest boards. O’Rourke has in the past suggested that Boca Raton stall residential development approvals until the school district finds a solution to crowding.
Nearly all of Boca Raton’s public schools enroll more students than they are built to hold. The district is working on solutions to apparent crowding, including adding “portable classrooms” to some schools and rebuilding and expanding others.