Pact for Ocean Mall area detailed
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
RIVIERA BEACH — Whether the Ocean Mall gets a $280 million makeover
won't be known for another week, as developer Dan Catalfumo and the
city's lead negotiator present details of an agreement tonight rather
than seek the city's approval.
California consultant Bernard Kinsey said Tuesday the plan is to do a
presentation of the agreement with Ocean Mall Redevelopment, which is
led by Catalfumo, at tonight's Community Redevelopment Agency meeting.
The meeting had been scheduled for the city council, sitting as the CRA
board, to vote on he project. If approved, it would be the first major
development in Riviera Beach's $2.4 billion waterfront redevelopment
Both Kinsey and Catalfumo are moving cautiously, given some of the
opposition toward the project. They want to give the council and the
community plenty of time examine the project and discuss its details.
"It's not fair to the council to give them a couple of days to review
and vote on a 250-page document when we've been working with this for
three weeks," Kinsey said.
Joey Eichner, a senior vice president with Catalfumo Construction and
Development, agreed. Eichner said delaying the vote will also give
them time to answer any of the public's questions.
"We've learned there is a lot of misinformation out on the street,"
Eichner said. "We'll use this week to get the facts out on the table."
Eichner has asked that the council call a special CRA meeting next
Wednesday before the regular city council meeting in order for the board
to vote on the project.
Eichner used the example that residents are being told that the 28-story
Marriott hotel/condo building is being built on the beach where the
city's dune is now located. In fact, it will be constructed at the
southwest corner of the city's parking lot, behind the Ocean Mall.
Meanwhile, some Singer Island residents remain cool to the project. Last
Friday, a committee, chaired by Singer Island's Dawn Pardo, began a
petition-drive to have voters decide whether the city can lease its 11
acres of beach to Catalfumo for 99 years.
A week ago, the council voted 4-1 to change its city charter, extending
its ability to lease the public beach from 50 to 99 years. Some
Singer Island residents say they believe the council doesn't have the
legal authority to change the charter without going to referendum.
The committee has 30 days from last Wednesday's vote to gather 3,000
signatures of registered voters to have the issue placed on the ballot.
Since July, Kinsey, along with CRA Executive Director Floyd Johnson and
City Manager Bill Wilkins, have been negotiating with Catalfumo's group.
In 2005, the city thought it had a plan with another development team to
redo the 33-year-old Ocean Mall, but residents balked after seeing it
contained three 27-story time-share/hotel towers while providing little
access to the public beach.
Catalfumo assembled another group that included Boca Raton developer
Norton Herrick and the Marriott.
The project was scaled back to include only one 28-story hotel/condo
building, ample access to the beach and redeveloping the dilapidated
Ocean Mall into 60,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.