|By Eliot Kleinberg, The Palm Beach Post,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 04, 2013--A hotel developer has rekindled a plan, dormant for more than five years, to build what would be a 5-story, 102-room, "full service" Holiday Inn near Boynton Beach Boulevard and South Congress Avenue.
Hardial Sibia, managing member of Boynton Holdings, said Friday that, if approved, the project would start in six to nine months.
Sibia, who said he owns properties out of state, also is building a 62-room Holiday Inn Express on Hypoluxo Road, just east of Interstate 95. The Lantana City Council approved the project in December 2011, development services director David Thatcher said Friday.
Sibia did not want to say how much he'll spend to build the Boynton Beach hotel. County property records show he bought the 2.71-acre vacant lot in 2004 for $800,000 and it now has a market value of $454,481.
Boynton Holdings first proposed the hotel in 2007; Sibia said he shelved the project as the economy worsened, but that now, "the economy's getting better."
The property would be the fourth major hotel, totaling more than 500 rooms, in an about 2-miles-by-2 miles area.
Sibia said he has an advantage over his nearest competitors: A Courtyard by Marriott near the Boynton Beach Mall, a Hampton Inn on Gateway Boulevard, and the former Holiday Inn at Boynton Beach Boulevard and Interstate 95, now the Inn at Boynton Beach. He said those hotels all are more than a decade old, "and "people want to go in the new properties."
Jonathan Porges, chair of the Greater Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce, said Friday he had not heard of the new development and couldn't comment on its prospects.
"Any opportunity to increase the inventory of available guest rooms in the Boynton Beach area is a good thing," he said in a statement. "As our town continues to grow and evolve, so will the need for accommodations, whether for business, tourism or for families relocating to the area."
Peter Ricci, director of the hospitality management program at Florida Atlantic University, said Friday he believes that area could handle another property.
"There's a lot of indicators that could add up to make it a win," Ricci said. He said the nearby competitors also are doing well.
Sandra Hardt lives in the neighborhood and recently sold her sister a separate condo she owned 300 feet from the hotel site.
"We may be resigned to the idea of the hotel," she said Friday, "but not the exact package that we're seeing in the plan."
In November 2007, Boynton Holdings asked the city to let it go from 49 feet high to 64 feet, saying it needed the extra height for visibility amid the other buildings at the busy intersection. While the city's planning board voted against the variance, the city commission later approved it.
The new plans call for a 6-foot wall separating the hotel from Leisureville. But city planning and zoning director Michael Rumpf said his staff will remind voting boards that they approved an 8-foot wall in 2007.
Jerry Taylor was mayor then. He's now interim commissioner for the district that includes the hotel. He said he did not know the project was back on the board.
"I'd have to look at it again," he said Friday, "and see if it's something that's really needed."
What: Holiday Inn. Five stories, 105 rooms.
Where: Ocean Avenue and Congress Avenue.
Approval: The project is scheduled for the Feb. 26 meeting of the city's planning and develoment board, and the March 19 meeting of the city commission.
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