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Breaking news: No residential development in Midtown area plan

New housing for the Midtown area is off the table, a drastic change from original plans.

The area from Military Trail to 19th Street connecting to Town Center mall would have phased in as many as 2,500 residences.  But Boca backed off allowing any residential development. Relying on a second Tri-Rail Station is also no longer a given.

Instead, the city offered shade trees and wider sidewalks for walkability. Not relying on cars to get around would fit in with the mobility plans. Military Trail would stay a six-lane highway with medians and roundabouts mentioned.

Improvements would be phased in over five years, Development Services director Brandon Schadd said at a public meeting Tuesday.

“People in the area don’t want to see too much change,” Schadd said. Neighbors in earlier public sessions were vocal against adding high-density housing.

The area needs to be updated, Schadd said. But there’s no next step so far, Schadd said to a resident’s questions about what happens next.

It’s unclear how these plans would affect Crocker Partners and a pending lawsuit with the city. The company owns the Shops at Boca Center. It also acquired three properties near the mall for nearly $300 million three years ago.  The suit alleges the city failed to update land-use rules, creating a moratorium on redevelopment.

Crocker Partners’ Angelo Bianco reacted to the city’s midtown presentation,  “It’s obviously very revealing to see what the city’s actual intent was,” he said Wednesday.  “I found it disappointing and reflective of the city’s initial intent, which was not to plan for the future but delay redevelopment and frustrate property owner’s rights.”

Two other developers also had plans for Midtown.

By Marci Shatzman

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