Is Congress Avenue Delray Beach’s next hot spot?

Congress Avenue in Delray Beach (Credit: WPTV)
Congress Avenue in Delray Beach (Credit: WPTV)

A 30-member committee on Tuesday will report to the Delray Beach City Commission on the development potential of Congress Avenue, a six-lane, north-south road just west of Interstate 95.

Committee members believe Congress Avenue could undergo a developmental transformation similar to the renewal of Atlantic Avenue east of Interstate 95, a popular destination for dining, shopping and entertainment.

The committee will recommend zoning changes, more public areas, more public transit options and incentives for businesses to expand in a 4.1 mile stretch of Congress Avenue in Delray Beach connecting Boynton Beach to the north with Boca Raton to the south.

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The area took a big hit 10 years ago. Office Depot was a leading employer in the city before the retailer announced in 2006 the relocation of its headquarters from Congress Avenue in Delray Beach. “They were the largest private employer in the city,” former Delray Beach mayor Jeff Perlman told the Sun-Sentinel.

Delray Beach real estate broker Bill Bathurst, a member of the Congress Avenue committee, which began meeting a year ago, told the Sun-Sentinel  “there’s an incredible opportunity out there …”It’s extremely neglected in some parts, but there are little hubs of excellence. One of the main things is we need to attract some strong entrepreneurs to stick their necks out.” [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth