Demolition begins at sites of condo project, luxury hotel in downtown Boca Raton

They’re two redevelopment projects that’ll change the face of downtown Boca Raton. And now, workers are making way for each of them by starting demolition. Monarch Boca Raton, originally known as Mizner 200, will bring three nine-story condo buildings that’ll be situated from 210 to 398 SE Mizner Blvd. The buildings will replace the Mizner on the Green townhouses.

Road-closed signs and orange cones went up as demolition started Jan. 9 off Mizner Boulevard, across from the entertainment, shopping and dining complex Royal Palm Place. About a half-mile from the Monarch site, demolition work began Friday at 103 E. Camino Real. That’s where a luxury 12-story hotel is planned, called the Mandarin Oriental Boca Raton.

The hotel will sit between the apartments at 101 Via Mizner and the 92 condos planned for The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Boca Raton, at 105 E. Camino Real. The hotel will be up during the winter season between 2019 and 2020. There also will be condos and shops. “You’ll see the tower for the hotel come out of the ground later this summer, followed by the tower for the condos,” said Al Piazza, senior vice president of development, Penn-Florida Companies. “The two together will cost around $400 million.”

At Monarch Boca Raton, a small fenced-off site was cleared, and six townhouses were knocked down. That will be the staging area for temporary job trailers, said John Cosmos, Boca Raton’s building official. The Elad Group, the company behind Monarch, announced the start of demolition, with intentions to start marketing the units. The city also approved 315,055 square feet of structured parking, a public plaza, benches and canopy trees among 8-foot, pavered sidewalks. The city expects to meet with the developer in the next few weeks about the demolition plans. “We want to make sure the units there are not compromised for safety and fire,” Cosmos said. “We’ll have to see how they’ll move forward.

“They wanted to block a street, but the fire official said that wasn’t allowed,” he added. The only possible change for the project, a request for a pool, will be discussed by the downtown district’s Community Redevelopment Board on Monday. People are still living in the pre-existing townhouses. Some have moved to the side of the community expected to be torn down last. In fact Mizner on the Green is still leasing. “We tell them everything up front,” said Chris Abraham, leasing agent. The next phase of teardowns is expected to clear close to 100 townhouses. “Everyone knows they will have to leave by the end of April,” she said of those units, not the ones being leased now. “But nothing is set in stone.” Businesses facing Royal Palm Place could be affected by noise and construction traffic during the day once demolition starts in earnest. But Michael Liss, president of the Downtown Business Alliance, sees a bright future.

“It will be great for the shops here in a couple of years,” he said during a visit to Royal Palm Place on Thursday. He foresees the area attracting more dining, shopping and hospitality, now competing with Mizner Park, a shopping and entertainment destination.

Yaacov Heller, whose Gallery 22 International has been there for nearly 13 years, agrees. “It will bring more people to the area,” he said. “We need more foot traffic.”

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