DELRAY BEACH — The five-year battle between the developers of a $200 million mixed-use complex in the heart of Delray Beach’s downtown and city leaders continues after the city commission unanimously agreed to postpone approval of the development on Tuesday.
Since 2015, the city has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Edwards Cos., the Ohio-based developers of Atlantic Crossings, a 9-acre office-retail-residential complex planned at the northeast corner of Federal Highway and Atlantic Avenue.
The city was poised to settle the lawsuit on Tuesday, but delayed the decision until its leaders can get more information and possibly a better deal from the developers.
City commissioners raised concerns about the development — which has been contentiously debated since it was first proposed in 2011 — namely the lack of traffic-relief efforts in nearby neighborhoods and a $500,000 contribution toward adjacent Veterans Park promised by Edwards Cos. in 2014.
Neither of those elements made it into the settlement agreement, although they have been discussed and pledged in the past, city officials said.
“We don’t know what we’ve got,” said Mayor Cary Glickstein.
The Veterans Park pledge, which would have helped fund a city-sought park revamp, helped sway dissenting residents to favor the Atlantic Crossings project, said Deputy Vice-Mayor Mitch Katz.
“Essentially that park is going to be an amenity to that project,” Katz said.
The developers agreed, after a requests from the city and several residents, to build a two-way road from Federal Highway east to Northeast Seventh Avenue into the Atlantic Crossings complex as a traffic-calming measure.
The lawsuit settlement should have been a “no brainer,” Commissioner Shelly Petrolia said.
“Now that we’re finding out there are quite a few (things) that are not going to be included, I would prefer to at least have some conversations to find out where we were, where we are and what’s missing,” Petrolia said.
City attorney Max Lohman said the developers want to move quickly and it isn’t clear how delays might affect the settlement agreement.
Edwards Cos. is “just going to wait for the city,” Chief Operations Officer Dean Kissos said following the meeting, He declined to comment further.
Edwards Cos. has accused the city of deliberately stalling the approved development, costing the company $40 million in federal and Palm Beach County Circuit lawsuits. The federal lawsuit was dismissed in July.
The proposed settlement, signed by Edwards Cos. and recommended by city staff, would allow Edwards Cos. to move forward with building the complex. It would include 82 luxury condos, 261 apartments, 83,000-square-feet of office space and 76,000-square-feet of shops and restaurants in six three or four-story buildings, according to Edwards Cos.