2 min read July 2022 — Invest: sat down with Renee Jadusingh, executive director of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, and discussed the many businesses that have been built out by the CRA’s grant program, working around significant construction delays and their goal to build out the West Atlantic Ave neighborhood.
What have been some highlights for the CRA in the last 12 months?
We just came out with our 2021 Annual Report, which gives a good overview of the projects and programs that took place over the last year. Our focus in the report this year was highlighting businesses that we invested in through our funding assistance programs. The Delray Beach CRA offers several funding assistance programs for businesses who want to open a business in our redevelopment area or want to make improvements to an existing business. We invested in a company that hosts virtual job fairs called Premier Virtual. We also helped Conch Cravings, a local family restaurant, open by providing them with our Site Assistance grant to assist with the cost of the interior build out of their restaurant. It was exciting to be able to help a local family that wanted to open a business for a long time. A Little Wyld, a local store with gifts and home items, is another great example of a small business that we assisted with our Site Assistance grant to help with their build out. The owners are two moms and one of the owners is a tenant in our Arts Warehouse – an artist incubator and gallery space. The owner has an incubator space at the Arts Warehouse, but wanted to expand, and partnered with another mom to open A Little Wyld in the Pineapple Grove District in Delray Beach. Another one, is Moon and Flower, which is a coffee shop, tea and apothecary, and we were able to help them with their build out. It’s been a very busy year for investing in small businesses for the Delray Beach CRA.
What have been some of the most pressing challenges over the last year?
With the rising construction costs, we have seen prices increase substantially on projects that we are managing. These are significant projects, and our purpose here is to eliminate slum and blight, so we need to tackle those rising costs and delays to continue with our mission. There was a lot of growth and we invested in infrastructure, then we experienced even more population growth. A lot of work and investment has been done Downtown, but the boom hasn’t reached the West Atlantic area as much as other parts of our Redevelopment Area. It is a little challenging to find the right formula to make that happen, but this is the focus area for us. There are many homes and residential areas in our Redevelopment District, and we want to be mindful of the residents who have been here for a long time. They want something complimentary to their existing neighborhoods. There is a sensitivity that should be factored into development, and we want development that is considerate of residents and businesses.
What continues to attract investment into the City of Delray Beach?
In Delray Beach, our downtown goes right to the beach. You don’t have a lot of cities in this area that have this opportunity. Our Redevelopment Area goes from I-95 just to the west of A1A, on Atlantic Avenue and north and south on Federal Highway and into some of the adjacent residential neighborhoods. A lot of investment was done through the Delray Beach CRA to eliminate slum and blight many years ago, and we are seeing our downtown thriving now because of it. The building style in Delray Beach is more quaint and smaller in scale, with not many taller buildings. The height maximum is three to four stories, but that is part of the attraction. There is a consistency to the area and it is lower scale, and that gives Delray Beach the attractiveness that you want to see. It isn’t all big concrete, but smaller cottages and homes that have character. The focus is staying on this smaller scale building and the local code accommodates this. There is still a draw even with this lower mass of housing and buildings. Our biggest focus moving forward will continue to be to develop on West Atlantic Avenue and investing in affordable/workforce housing and infrastructure.
For more information, visit:
opens in a new windowhttps://delraycra.org/