23 Jan Atlantic Yards
Woo Creative President, Ryan Boylston, spoke last night at Delray Beach’s City Commission in favor of the Atlantic Yards project. The project passed with a 3-2 vote.
Economic impact of Atlantic Crossing helps sway tight vote
Delray city commissioners approve downtown project in a 3-2 vote
January 22, 2014 | By Marisa Gottesman, Sun Sentinel
Atlantic Crossing, approved as the new eastern gateway to downtown Delray Beach, will add restaurants, shops, offices and apartments to nine acres of East Atlantic Avenue and could be an economic powerhouse for the seaside city. The financial impact of the project swayed the City Commission in a tight 3-2 vote in front of a packedhouse Tuesday, with the promise of 600 permanent jobs and $2 million pumped into the city coffers each year proving impossible to resist. The developers, Edwards Companies, also say building the massive project will create 1,000 construction jobs and that once people move in, they will spend an average of $6 million a year in Delray. Those numbers helped offset strong opposition to the project from an organized group of residents who fear the six-building project would bombard Atlantic Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods with traffic. “Towns need development,” said resident Alex Zeller, who filed a formal appeal against the project. “But a town simply can’t approve a new development without considering the impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.” And it was a resident-funded traffic study, which said Atlantic Crossing would clog up traffic, that led Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Shelly Petrolia to vote against the project. “We don’t want to look back and say this was a bad decision,” Petrolia said. “It’s going to affect us forever.” Glickstein agreed.
“While I see significant positive impacts from this development, it does not allow me to support the plan in its current form,” he said. But holding up the project any longer was something that Commissioner Al Jacquet, who voted against a larger version of the project in 2012, could not let happen this time around. “If you don’t continue to grow you die,” Jacquet said. “This is the biggest project in the city. It is an opportunity to create jobs and an opportunity to bring something that we can be proud of to that site.” Many residents agreed. “We are no longer a village by the sea,” said resident Ryan Boylston. “We are a thriving mini-metropolis. Downtowns are supposed to be built around people, not cars. We have molded this project to our community.” Downtown merchant Gary Goldfarb begged commissioners to say yes to Atlantic Crossing already. “It’s classy and has everything that the city really needs,” he said. Even restaurateurs, who will be in direct competition with the six restaurants slated to fill the space, support having new neighbors.
“It will make our end of Atlantic Avenue look a lot better than it does today,” said Tina Hutchinson, owner of J&J Seafood Bar and Grill. Lee Harrison, who owns the Blue Anchor Pub across the street from the site, agreed. “It’s a beautiful development,” he said. “It’s going to be the real jewel and crown of Delray Beach.”