Delray Place Seen As Catalyst for South Federal Highway

Delray Place hopes to jumpstart a new look for South Federal Highway.

Delray Place hopes to jumpstart a new look for South Federal Highway.

Support is building for a new $30 million, 100,000 square foot retail center on the southeast corner of U.S. 1 and Linton Boulevard.

Delray Place, proposed by the Boca Raton based Retail Property Group, is planning an ambitious new shopping center featuring restaurants, neighborhood retail and possibly a Trader Joe’s supermarket, the first in the area.

The project has been through an 18-month “odyssey” of neighborhood meetings and advisory board hearings, but seems to have finally won the support of the adjoining neighborhood, Tropic Isles, with a few exceptions.

The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is putting its muscle behind the project which will go the City Commission on July 9 for final approval.

If the commission gives the go-ahead, Retail Property Group, plans an accelerated schedule and hopes to open in July 2014.

The project hopes to spur development along the South Federal Highway Corridor, which residents and city officials agree needs a facelift.

Delray Place Attorney Jeffrey Lynne says the project will rebrand South Federal and fits the goals of the recently adopted South Federal Highway Redevelopment Plan, a city initiated plan that sought input from local residents and business owners.

South Federal Highway has long been home to a thriving automobile dealership cluster, an industry that pays big taxes and is a major local employer.

But over the past several years, the industry has consolidated and some dealers, including Ralph Buick, have shuttered, leaving the corridor’s future in doubt.

The redevelopment plan envisions a mix of uses that would be compatible with nearby residential communities including Tropic Isles, Tropic Bay and Pelican Harbor.

The site of the proposed Delray Place has struggled for years as an office complex with high vacancies and lots of turnover in ownership.

Retail Property Group prides itself on owning and managing its own properties. The company has expertise in re-positioning struggling centers and recently redeveloped Bal Harbour Square in Ft. Lauderdale.

The company has over 20 years of experience and has relationships with national tenants.

If approved, the site plan calls for creating a new “gateway feature” by building up to the edge of the street, a more urban look in keeping with the redevelopment plan for the corridor.

The property is currently valued at about $9 million and with the new $30 million of investment should yield significant tax revenue and jobs for Delray Beach.

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