BOCA RATON – JUNE 28, 2023: On behalf of James Batmasian, Boca Raton land use attorney Bonnie Miskel submitted a proposal that will replace the downtown Post Office and the entire Mizner Plaza shopping strip with a 12-floor hotel. Residents fought tooth and nail in 2018 to save the post office from being razed. But it seems all they gained was a temporary reprieve. So, say goodbye to the downtown post office.
The project includes a 12-floor 266-room hotel and parking garage for the site. It will run all the way between NE 1st Ave to NE Mizner Blvd, along NE 2nd Street across from Mizner Park. The project, on a small 1.63 lot, will also include 16,200 square feet of retail space, and 16,200 square feet of restaurant. The height of the building cannot exceed 140 feet, 12-floors, plus an additional 20 feet for architectural features. A total of 160 feet.
The proposal announcement lists two addresses, 132 NE 2nd Street, the strip mall, and 170 NE 2nd Street, the post office.
Too large for area; needs square feet transferred
There isn’t enough development available for the area. So, office equivalent space must be transferred from another part of downtown. Plus, some remaining types of development must be converted into hotel use.
So far, the plan has only been submitted to the Planning Advisory Review Board as a preliminary submission as described here. This allows city staff to determine if there is sufficient information to go forward as a formal proposal. Not every project that goes before the advisory board eventually becomes reality. But with the backing of powerful landowner Batmasian, and represented by land- use attorney Bonnie Miskel, there are heavyweights behind this.
Not much more is known about the project at this time, except it is proposed to have 449 parking spaces, 93 extended stay rooms, and 153 short term rooms. But it seems all traffic will be routed through the alley between the hotel and Tower 155 to its south to avoid congestion with Mizner Park.
New hotel and Aletto Square spell trouble for Sanborn Square
Both of these projects will impact the serenity of Sanborn Square and the Pedestrian Promenade. The hotel will add to the noise and traffic that will be created by the recently approved Aletto Square. Rather than access it from NE 2nd Street, traffic for Batmasian’s hotel will come from either Mizner Blvd or Sanborn Square’s NE First Avenue. First Avenue will feel the brunt of this traffic from the two projects.
The loss of the popular shopping strip will be felt by both downtown and non-downtown residents. For many, it is the only reason remaining for going downtown. Mizner Plaza is a very pedestrian-friendly strip of stores. It holds numerous restaurants, most relatively inexpensive, and services that residents need. Such as salons, barber, cleaner, and UPS store to name a few. For a city whose stated goal is walkability, Compson’s Aletto, Tower 155, The Residences and now Batmasian’s 12-story hotel testify to that being lip service as they take away public alleys and streets from residents. Ultimately this reduces the affordability of downtown, making residents add to the congested traffic to drive to services and budget-friendly eateries.
BocaFirst will stay on top of this project and report details as they become available.