IPIC: Because Delray Needs Jobs


The sky has been falling for 20 years.
Paver bricks on Atlantic Avenue–women will never come downtown because they will trip in their heels on the grooves.
Worthing Place–it will turn into a low income rowdy tenement.
Pineapple Grove–a pipe dream.
Atlantic Avenue–won’t happen without an “anchor” department store.
Townhouses on Federal Highway–nobody wants to live on a highway and besides where will they barbecue?
I can go on.
But needless to say plenty of women and men enjoy strolling on the avenue, Worthing Place is fully leased (and pricey) and you hardly know it’s there, Pineapple Grove is a cool street, we didn’t need a department store to revitalize Atlantic Avenue and townhouses on Federal Highway remain hot commodities.
So I tend to grin when I hear the latest hand wringing concern–whether it’s festivals “destroying” our quality of life or development choking our city to death.
But before you get all wound up at my cavalier attitude let me say two things.
First, I respect contrary opinions so please respect those who don’t agree with your assessment of the latest project.
Second, I’m not an anything goes guy either.
We have had good developers and we have had awful ones.
In my opinion most of our developers have been good corporate citizens. There I said it. And I can prove it too.

We have been fortunate that most of our projects have been built by local developers who live here, work here, pay taxes, volunteer and raise their families here too.
Not all are greedy and callous. In fact, we have been fortunate to have many who are the opposite.
Sure they are motivated by profit and they seek a healthy return. Last I checked, we live in a capitalistic society where profits are a goal.
But profit motive aside, many of the developers  I have known want to build projects that work for the city as well as their wallets. Most also give to charity, have served on community boards and are in a field where the risks are enormous.
In other words developers are people too. You wouldn’t have known that from our last municipal election.
We are better than the current state of our development debate.
Still, the concerns are legitimate. We should seek smart growth which I would define as human scale, well-designed, with green elements, pedestrian friendly, mixed use where possible and oriented toward the street.
Projects that aren’t should be sent back to the drawing board.
But that’s where the opportunities are…
When a good use comes to town— say a downtown theater– that includes corporate jobs, office space and other desirable facets we should communicate with the developer/investors collaborate with them and where possible shape the best outcome.
Collaboration: what a concept.
Now if they don’t listen– and a few won’t— send em packing.

But most developers I have known will listen because they want to their projects approved and don’t necessarily enjoy being pariahs.
It’s easy to pontificate from a dais or wall off your planners and other city resources. But really what does that accomplish?
I had two experiences where we sent developers packing because they simply would not listen to community and city input. But I had many more where our CRA or Planning Department were able to make projects better because they looked at site plans and found things to improve whether it was design, traffic flow or street level orientation. You got to give your staff some room to make things work and as a policymaker you have a unique opportunity to make improvements as well.
Collaboration works, unless of course, you think Delray stinks. A few of you do, but most of you don’t.
So why not work to make projects better?
And if you think that we should merely shut the town down and say no more I have some disappointing news. It’s not going to happen.
Delray is a wildly desirable market. Not because it’s been ruined but because it was carefully planned and is a great town. People want to be here. People want to live here. People want to work here and people want to invest here.
They don’t want to ruin it, they want to contribute. If their ideas make sense we ought to help them. And we need to engage early, as Andres Duany advised us at one of the first town hall lecture series meetings.
If developers have bad ideas we ought to intervene–early.  If they are tone deaf, again send them packing. Smart developers, the kind we want to work in our town, welcome input and collaboration. It saves them time, money and aggravation. It also saves the public time, money and aggravation.
“Just say no” may have been a great anti-drug slogan but it’s no way to run a railroad. People are going to want to build here. We ought to worry if they don’t.
As for IPIC… when the RFP came out I liked the European theater concept..still think that would work elsewhere in our city.
But I’ve warmed up to IPIC. I like the idea of entertainment downtown. I like that it will bring people during the slow summer months and I love that this is a corporate headquarters deal with hundreds of jobs.
We need the jobs. We need the daytime workers. Jobs sustain towns.
We can also plan for the traffic. We know when shows begin and end. This developer/business owner has stepped up and listened.
Downtown residents will walk to the movies and others will drive–most with other people. After all, when is the last time you went to the movies alone?

We are not putting in a multiplex, but a luxury theater, with a few hundred seats.
This is a good project and we ought to be proud that Delray is desirable for such a cool and growing company.
The sky will not fall.


  1. Susan Ross says

    We love going to the movies. We love downtown Delray. We love the restaurants, shops & the various street fairs. We don’t love the parking situation when going downtown. We wonder how the parking for the IPIC will impact downtown? You say the developers have listened to these concerns, but what is the resolution?
    We’re still shaking our collective heads at the narrowing of Federal Highway. With the increased numbers of residents , stores AND visitors to our beautiful
    City, traffic, especially at the Linton/Federal area, is absurd.
    Hopefully our “fears” will turn out to be unfounded & Delray will plan for all contingencies.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      There is ample capacity on US 1 and I believe this will turn out to be a master stroke. We have to stop designing roads that encourage unsafe speeds in downtown areas.
      US 1 in its former capacity was unsafe and a raceway and there are stats to prove it. Right now, it’s under construction so I would urge patience and wait and see when the dust clears how nice it will look, how safe it will be and how traffic will still move albeit slower.
      We have traffic four months a year, but if your downtown pre season and post season there’s hardly anybody on the roads. In season, we have to look a little bit for parking, but in all honesty I can always find a space.
      We added hundreds of spaces in garages, added a trolley and now have a downtowner to help the situation.
      As for Linton and Federal, I think the addition of Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and other amenities are well worth the few extra minutes during peak times.
      Just my opinion, but I like that I no longer have to shop in Boca (which has a lot more traffic) because I have everything within Delray city limits.
      I respect your opinion and thank you very much for sharing it.

  2. Rick Mancinelli says


    Thank you for once again injecting levity and logic into what continues to be an emotional debate. I’m not a long-time resident like some, but it was Atlantic Avenue, the festivals, and Pineapple Grove that attracted my family here. As you know, I’ve also since moved the HQ for our business to a downtown location.

    Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve been lucky to have traveled much of our great country. When I travel now, I truly cherish coming “home” to Delray.

    That said, I believe we still have some work to do if our true goal is to fulfill the live-work-play mantra. While we are fast becoming the envy of other cities when it comes to live and play, we are sorely lacking when it comes to work. Balance among the three is, as many far wiser than I have pointed out, a key to establishing the long term economic viability of a city.

    Building the IPIC will create some badly needed downtown jobs and thus be a small but meaningful step toward achieving this balance.

    Warm regards,

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Thanks for your kind comments Rick.
      Delray should be proud to host your great company and to attract families such as yours.
      You are spot on when you say the job isn’t done. We have an obligation to our children and if we are serious about sustaining our quality of life we need to attract jobs.
      Adding 42,000 square feet of Class A space to a market that doesn’t have much in the way of product, will make a difference.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.