Centrum’s Deerfield Beach multifamily project advances

Project could include up to 277 apartments

Centrum’s Arthur Slaven and an aerial view of the project (Deerfield Beach City Commission)
Centrum’s Arthur Slaven and an aerial view of the project (Deerfield Beach City Commission)

Deerfield Beach commissioners approved a zoning change, in a move toward turning an empty lot into a five-story multifamily building with as many as 277 units.

The commission last week voted 3-1 to change 5.7 acres at 201, 221, 231 and 299 North Federal Highway from “commercial” and “residential moderate” to “residential irregular.” The change allows for 48.6 dwelling units per acre at the planned Centrum Deerfield.

The landowner and developer is Centrum Realty, based in Chicago and managed by the Slaven family. Centrum bought the vacant land in 2017 for $3.9 million, according to records.

The development site includes a 29,000-square-foot building built in 1962 and owned by OER Properties Co. The company is run by Greg Rogers and Lisa Ann Bourquin of Palm City, according to records.

Deerfield Beach Mayor Bill Ganz voted against the measure. Vice Mayor Bernie Parness was absent due to illness. Ganz said he has concerns about plan specifics, including the building’s height and its proximity to neighbors.

The commissioners voiced concern over negative effects of additional traffic to the area. However, Dennis Mele, an attorney representing the developer, told the commission that current zoning for the land could allow a shopping center, which could cause greater congestion than a residential building.

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Mele said the plan is for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The lack of three-bedroom apartments would limit the number of families who live in the building. The developer will also pay $500 a unit — or $138,500 — into the city’s affordable housing fund.

Officials will have many more opportunities to voice concerns on the project. The developers still face months of approvals from Broward County and state agencies, plus rezoning and site plan approvals, Mele told the commission.

Commissioner Michael Hudack said that development of the lot is inevitable and called a residential building “the lesser of two evils.”

Neighbors of the development site wrote and called into the meeting to voice concerns, including the potential for someone to look down into neighboring yards from the highest stories of the building. Tinka Ellington, a local real estate agent, called into the meeting to voice approval of the project. She said that once finished, the building would provide a pleasant visual for drivers coming from Boca Raton.

The property is not Centrum’s first in South Florida. In July, a company affiliated with Arthur Slaven of Centrum sold a Hialeah CVS building for $10.5 million.

In 2018, the year-old Centrum Bucktown complex in Chicago sold for $50.5 million.

Other proposals for multifamily projects in the area include a 355-unit mixed-use multifamily development in Pompano Beach, and a 79-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail space in west Dania Beach.