By staff writer
Construction and development is nothing new for Palm Beach County residents, and for those residing in Delray Beach the development of their city has become par for the course. With over $950 million in construction permits filed last year alone, Delray Beach is on the cusp of a developmental renaissance.
“We have a few developments in the works,” Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia told our Invest: Palm Beach team when she sat down with us earlier this year. “One of the largest and arguably most important is West Atlantic Avenue. We have had three blocks in our CRA District that have gone out to bid, and we are just to the point where we are getting those bids back. This is an area that has not been graced with the same activity as the rest of the city, so we are working hard to bring it up to speed.”
The city has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a sleepy farming community in the late 1800s. Since being incorporated as the City of Delray Beach in 1927, the area has grown into a hotspot destination for tourists and residents alike looking for a lively, cultural beach spot without the “hustle and bustle” of South Beach. For Delray Beach, development is a necessary step towards being able to accommodate and improve the lifestyle of its population, which has only seen a steady increase since 2010.
It’s not just Atlantic Avenue that Delray Beach is focusing on; in fact, there are multiple areas of this city of 68,000 residents that will be seeing more development. “Congress Avenue is another area that we are trying to ignite,” Mayor Petrolia told Invest:. “There are plans for a mixed-use development in that area with over 1,000 residential units. The property is an old Office Depot that is over 40 acres, and we expect it to bring a lot of activity to that part of the city. It is a very large piece of land.”
The hope for all of this construction and development isn’t just to improve the lives of the residents of Delray Beach but also to bring in and support Delray’s biggest economic sector: tourism. It should come as no surprise that this vibrant and scenic beach town is a large draw for tourists, and with over 100 million visitors traveling to Florida every year and 7.9 million in Palm Beach County alone in 2018, Delray Beach is making sure it is a destination of choice.
“Hospitality is booming right now,” Mayor Petrolia continued. “We have new hotels coming in like Kolter Hotel, the Ray Hotel and ALoft. Our market is demanding more rooms. There have been a few more proposals, so we are in the process of seeing which ones will be approved. As a city, we are working to make sure that we have the space to house those who are visiting, whether for vacation or business. Tourism is a driver for us, so we want to make sure that we have top options for people who are choosing Delray Beach.”
While development and construction can carry with it some negatives, like congested roadways and inconvenience for residents, the City of Delray Beach knows that it is a necessity in achieving the ultimate goal: becoming the best version of itself for 2019 and the foreseeable future!
For more information on our interviewee and the City of Delray Beach, visit http://www.visitdelraybeach.org/