Boca Raton Bowl Renewal in the Works, City Makes an Offer on Trinity Property, and More

fau stadium
FAU Stadium

A new six-year deal for the Boca Raton Bowl could be approved this month.

The original contract, of the same duration, expired with the game last December. Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, however, have reached tentative agreement with ESPN to retain the event at Florida Atlantic University Stadium.

Boca Raton has two contracts for the game. One, which goes toward expenses, is with the county and ESPN, which packages and televises the game. As proposed, the city’s annual payment would increase from $100,000 to $125,000 for the 2020 game and go up another $5,000 each of the next five years.

In addition, the city’s activity fee — it covers all the pregame events — would rise from $40,000 to $46,000 the first year and increase $1,000 a year for the rest of the contract.

Glenn Jergensen is executive director of the county’s Tourist Development Council. He said the terms would be the same for the county as they would be for the city. That was the case with the first contract. Boca Raton’s contribution comes from the city’s budget. The county’s share comes from the tax on hotel and motel rooms.

Boca Raton also would have a contract with ESPN related to promotion. The city had been paying $200,000 a year. That would increase to $300,000 for the first three years and to $400,000 over the final three years. In return, the city would get more commercials during the broadcast.

ESPN’s Doug Mosley is the Boca Raton Bowl’s executive director. He told me that the network’s deal with the participating conferences—the American Athletic, the Mid-American and Conference USA—are “in place” and “roughly the same as before. But the network has “leeway to shift teams.” For the 2019 game, FAU—of Conference USA—took a slot that had been designated for the Mid-American Conference. Under former Coach Lane Kiffin, the Owls won two of the last three Boca Bowls.

Mosley also has to renew the deal with FAU for use of the stadium. University officials, Mosley said, have been “super busy” with overlapping winter and spring sports, so he “didn’t want to bother them at the moment.” He added, though, “I feel pretty sure we’re on the same page for extending.”

Finally, there’s the issue of a corporate sponsor. Cheribundi Tart Cherry’s contract expires before this year’s game. Mosley said, “We’ve had others express interest if Cheribundi does not renew. Cheribundi is still interested though, due largely to how popular their products are with the college programs.” Athletes believe that tart cherry products reduce inflammation and speed recovery after high-intensity exercise.

The spokeswoman said Boca Raton’s legal staff is reviewing the contracts. If nothing untoward comes up, they could go to the city council in March. Jergensen said the county’s agreements must go first to the Tourist Development Council and then to the county commission, He also hopes that could happen next month. Jergensen said, “We think the new deals put us in a great place.”

West Atlantic redevelopment update

(Rendering by BH3)

BH3 Management will submit its revised plan to Delray Beach officials on Wednesday.

Last month, the community redevelopment agency board issued a notice of default on the developer’s agreement to buy six-plus acres east of the Fairfield Inn for the project it calls Fabrick. The board acted because BH3 had missed a deadline to submit plans for city approval. The notice came with a 30-day deadline to resolve the issue. That deadline is Friday.

Neil Schilller, BH3’s attorney, told me Monday that the developer has gone back to the “Florida Vernacular” architectural style—pastel colors, wide porches and verandas, multi-pitched roof line—of the original version. BH3 had redesigned the retail/residential/office project to accommodate the national grocer that the CRA made a priority. Board members didn’t like the redesign.

Schiller said the developer is negotiating with two grocers and hopes to announce the preferred company “soon.” While the plan still will differ from the original, Schiller said it will not exceed the 10 percent limit in the contract. The company also has submitted plans for moving existing tenants during construction of Fabrick and its proposed public benefits agreement. That covers such issues as hiring of local subcontractors and employees.

In addition, BH3 on Monday held a ribbon-cutting for 18 workforce housing units the company is building on Southwest Sixth Avenue. Those nearby units are not part of The Set project, but they are designed to complement it. BH3 touted those units when it was competing for the contract.

BH3 is on the agenda for today’s CRA meeting, but the board is not scheduled to vote on the contract. The staff placed the item on the agenda only for “discussion.”

City makes an offer on Trinity property

trinity church

Boca Raton has made an offer on the Trinity Church of God property. A city spokeswoman said the price is confidential until Thursday.

The church and preschool, which will close this summer, are on 5.2 acres in the Boca Square neighborhood. After the closing became public, residents asked the city council to consider buying the land for a park.

According to the listing on LoopNet, the asking price is $5 million. The listing advertises a 12,000-square-foot “specialty building” but also calls the property “a great development opportunity,” with zoning that allows 3.1 residential units to the acre. Realtor Michael Catino had said that the church board, which will consider the offers, would advertise the site for its highest and best use. The church was built in 1972.

Catino told me Monday that interested parties should not back off just because of the city’s offer. A due diligence period follows any acceptance of an offer, Catino said, during which deals can fall through. Council members would have to approve purchase by the city.

Udell bill stalls in Legislature

Old and new capitol buildings in Tallahassee, Florida. (State Archives of Florida)

Despite all the publicity from the murder last September of Evelyn Smith Udell, a bill in the Legislature to require background checks for delivery service employees is going nowhere in the Legislature.

House Bill 1129 has had no committee hearings. Neither has its Senate companion bill. The legislation session ends on March 6. The House sponsor is Rep. Michael Caruso, R-Delray Beach. His district includes Boca Raton, where Ms. Udell lived.

On that day, she was expecting a washer and dryer from Best Buy. The retailer contracted with one firm for delivery from the Boca Raton store to a point near Ms. Udell’s home. That firm contracted with another for delivery to the house. A former employee of the second firm is accused of the killing.

Caruso named the bill for Ms. Udell. Family members, however, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in January that they did not support the bill in its current form.

New lab at FAU High

On Wednesday, FAU High in Boca Raton will unveil its Owls Imaging Lab. A release from the school affiliated with Florida Atlantic University says the faculty will offer students “the only high school research program of its kind in the country” and be superior to many university labs.

Uptown update

Uptown Boca will mark another milestone Thursday with the topping off of the project’s residential portion. Uptown Boca, which will be on Glades Road just east of State Road 7, include 456 apartments and 155,000 square feet of retail space.

And a correction

In an item last week about the office market in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, I said that a 24,000-square-foot medical office project would be part of Atlantic Crossing in Delray Beach. In fact, Addison Medical Centre will be on Jog Road south of Linton Boulevard in West Delray. It’s a project of Delray Beach-based Azure Development.