Deerfield Beach voters to decide on Hensel Phelps’ mixed-use development

City commissioners approved terms of a $6.5M sale of vacant city property, and signed off on language for a referendum on the proposed sale

Capital Group P3's Mario Caprini and Hensel Phelps' Michael Choutka with rendering of their planned mixed-use development (Capital Group P3 Development, Hensel Phelps, City of Deerfield Beach, Getty)
Capital Group P3's Mario Caprini and Hensel Phelps' Michael Choutka with rendering of their planned mixed-use development (Capital Group P3 Development, Hensel Phelps, City of Deerfield Beach, Getty)

Voters will decide in a referendum if Deerfield Beach can sell city land for a mixed-use development with an office building, hotel, retail stores, restaurants, and income-restricted apartments.

A development team led by construction company Hensel Phelps offered to pay $6.5 million to the city for the 3.8-acre development site near I-95.

The Deerfield Beach City Commission on Thursday approved the purchase price and other terms of the sale, including a $7.5 million contribution from the developers to the city for public improvements near the project site.

The commission also approved the language for a referendum on the sale, scheduled for March 14 in conjunction with a regular municipal election.

Under the city charter, Deerfield Beach needs the approval of 51 percent of eligible voters to sell any city-owned property for more than $750,000.

The development site at 1045 Southwest 11th Way became available this year after the city commission on Feb. 15 refused to extend a lease on the property for the eighth time. Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority had leased the property since 2003, but failed to develop it.

In September, the city issued a formal “invitation to negotiate” for the acquisition and development of the site near the interchange of Southwest 10th Street and I-95.

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Six development companies responded to the invitation to negotiate, and a committee of city officials gave its top ranking to a proposal by MBA Development Partners of Florida LLC. The second, third and fourth-ranked bids were submitted, respectively, by Falcone Group LLC, JBL Development, and Related Urban Development LLC.

MBA Development Partners is a joint venture between MBA Development LLC, led by Miami-based Robert Sherman, and a partnership of Hensel Phelps and Boca Raton-based Capital Group P3 Developments, led by Mario Caprini.

Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps is the primary investor in the development, said Ken Krasnow, a vice chairman of brokerage firm Colliers International, which has helped Deerfield Beach find a developer to buy and build on the city-owned land.

“They [Hensel Phelps] are one of the largest construction companies in the world, and they are the majority equity stakeholder in this project,” Krasnow told the city commission at its meeting Thursday night.

The planned mixed-use development would cluster an eight-story, 120-unit rental apartment building with a seven-story, 60,000-square-foot office building and a four-story, Marriott-branded hotel with 105 rooms. The development also would include two single-story buildings: a 20,000-square-foot event space and a 7,000- square-foot space for stores and restaurants.

Efforts to pre-lease space have attracted an unidentified health care company that may anchor the office building, Krasnow told the commission. He first told the commission about the prospective office tenant earlier this month.

The prospect is “a brand-name, institutional-quality tenant,” Krasnow told commissioners at their Dec. 5 meeting. “It’s a name that would be a calling card for Deerfield Beach.”

Krasnow also said at that meeting that eligibility to rent apartments in the mixed-use development would be restricted to people who collect 60 percent to 140 percent of area median income, or an approximate range of $42,000 to $100,000.