DELRAY BEACH — Long ignored in favor of the more vibrant downtown area, Congress Avenue is now a massive hot spot for new Delray Beach housing — with more than 1,500 apartments and townhomes now in the works along the corridor.
The latest unveiled addition in a string of projects is a 267-apartment complex, called Alexan Delray, which would be built at 1155 S. Congress Ave., just north of Linton Boulevard.
With 98% of the city already built out, finding available land has been a challenge for developers. In the eastern part of the city by downtown and Federal Highway, developers have focused on building luxury townhomes on smaller pieces of land.
But for developers eyeing larger projects, Congress Avenue has become prime territory due to the large swaths of undeveloped land.
In addition to Alexan Delray, three other major housing projects are in development along Congress Avenue:
- Parks at Delray will add 747 apartments and townhomes on a lot that has remained vacant for 14 years, just south of Linton Boulevard off Germantown Road.
- Delray Central is proposing an eight-story building that would include 271 residential units, more than 1,000 square feet of commercial space and a seven-story parking garage at 1625 Congress Ave., just south of Linton Boulevard.
- Aura Delray Beach is building more than 276 luxury apartments along Congress Avenue, at 2105 W. Atlantic Avenue.
Alexan Delray is planned for a 6.74-acre lot that is mostly empty. The property also includes a 29,250-square-foot warehouse building that’s been vacant since 2012. The complex will feature two, five-story apartment buildings with 161 one-bedroom units, 88 two-bedroom units and 18 three-bedroom units.
Under city guidelines, one-bedroom units can only account for 30% of a project’s total units, whereas the 161 one-bedroom apartments account for 60%, according to a city staff report.
Attempts to reach the developer’s representative, Jeffrey Costello, by the South Florida Sun Sentinel were unsuccessful.
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The complex will also include 245 surface parking spaces and a 158-space parking deck.
The project would “redevelop an underutilized blighted property” and “provide needed investment along the Congress Avenue corridor that will enhance the area and encourage re-investment in the area,” Costello said in a letter to the city.
Of the 267 units, 54 would be allocated for workforce housing at the county’s moderate income level, which is between $72,240 to $108,360. A one-bedroom unit would cost between $1,380 to $2,070 a month under those pricing guidelines.
Amid skyrocketing rents across Palm Beach County, the issue of workforce housing income levels has been a topic in recent proposals.
In a separate housing proposal along Congress Avenue, a city official asked the developer if they could offer workforce housing at the low-income level, which is between $54,180 and $72,240, resulting in a monthly rent between $1,035 to $1,380. The developer, however, said that wasn’t an option in order for the project to be financially feasible.
As a sweetener for the Alexan Delray project, the developer is offering to donate $350,000 to the city of Delray Beach Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing elsewhere in the city at the “very-low, low, and/or moderate income workforce and affordable housing.”
The city will review the proposal later this month.