Strand Project Proposes Downtown Delray Apartments

Update: The Planning and Zoning Board voted to approve the project. It will now head to the City Commission for a final vote and public hearing in September. will keep you posted.

The Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board will host a public hearing Monday, Aug. 19 to discuss a much buzzed about project “The Strand.”

The Strand, designed by well-known local architects Kupi Eliopoulos, is envisioned as a 198 unit apartment complex located on the north and south sides of SE 1st Street, west of SE 3rd Avenue in downtown Delray Beach, near the railroad tracks opposite Sun Trust bank.

The site, which is currently vacant, consists of two parcels that are separated by SE 1st Street.

The north parcel contains 0.79 acres and the south parcel contains 2.34 acres.

The development team is seeking a conditional use request that will allow an increase in density on the site from 30 units to the acre to 63 units.

If approved, the smaller north parcel would have 43 residential units within a four-story structure, three floors of residential with covered parking on the ground floor.

The south parcel would have 155 residential apartment units within a five-story structure which will have four residential floors with covered parking on the ground floor.

The proposal also includes recreational amenities including a swimming pool, exercise rooms and clubhouse for each parcel.

The project also includes certain green initiative designs such as a charging station, a “greenwall” system, roof mounted photovoltaic panels and solar bollards. Access to the site will be via SE 1st Street for the north parcel and SE 2nd Street and SE 3rd Avenue for the south parcel. The buildings will accommodate three different unit types including, studio (efficiency), one bedroom and two bedroom units that range in size from 500 square feet to 1,200 square feet.

Once the project is heard by the Planning and Zoning Board, it will be heard by the City Commission most likely in September.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Commission Chambers, 100 NW First Ave.

This project is being considered in an atmosphere in which some residents have expressed dismay at the conditional use process which allows for an increase in height and density. Proponents of conditional use say it gives policy makers discretion to approve or turn away projects based on what is needed or compatibility. They argue that a certain amount of density is desirable to keep downtown vibrant and to support local businesses. They also contend that attractive design is more important than the number of units and that density is good for the environment because it limits car trips (people living downtown enjoy walking over driving) and allows for services to be delivered more efficiently.

Others are concerned by increases in density which they believe increases traffic and endangers the village by the sea ambience.

The density argument has been raging in Delray since the late 90s, when Worthing Place (93 units to the acre) was proposed splitting the community. Some “high” density projects have sailed through with ample public support including a recent project by the Related Group south of Atlantic Avenue. Others, including Atlantic Crossings near Veterans Park, have met fierce resistance.

The City Commission is expected to review the conditional use process as part of a comprehensive review of the city’s land development regulations.

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