Kinsloe proposes new deal for Delray's garage retail space

By David Sedore, Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — Developer Tom Kinsloe is back in the running for the retail space within the city’s Old School Square parking garage.

Kinsloe, a Delray Beach resident and contractor, wants to put a music club/restaurant, in nearly 5,000 square feet he’s proposing to buy for $600,000. Previously, Kinsloe wanted to buy the entire space, about 10,000 square feet, for $1.44 million. The space is valued at $1.3 million, according to a recent appraisal.

But what’s truly different about Kinsloe’s proposal is this: He’s reviewed the garage space and found a way to convert about 2,500 square feet of corridors previously considered unusable into usable real estate. That brings the total square footage in the garage to 12,500.

Kinsloe’s problem now is to convince city officials that his plan will work.

“There’s a real opportunity for the city to make some real good money with this proposal,” Kinsloe said. “It just has to be understood.”

Kinsloe, along with architect Richard Jones and South Florida jazz impresario Randy Singer, met with city commissioners Tuesday. Jones is the project architect, while Singer, music director of the Van Dyke Café in Miami Beach, would fill a similar role at Kinsloe’s Delray club if he can make a deal with the city.

Said Jones: “You have the opportunity for a real public/private partnership.”

The garage retail space is viewed as a key to attracting people to the downtown’s pedestrian-starved Pineapple Grove Arts District, which sits to the north of Atlantic Avenue. It’s situated in the heart of the city, which makes it especially valuable.

The city has proposed leasing the space to the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, which in turn could find a tenant to set up shop to sublease it. The CRA is to take up the issue Thursday.

Under Kinsloe’s proposal, he would buy 4,850 square feet under a three-year lease/purchase agreement; 5,300 square feet would go to the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce to replace offices on Southeast 5th Avenue that house the chamber. The remaining 6,800 square feet could be leased to the CRA.

“Tom has created value,” architect Jones said.

“After reading through everything, I think they’ll realize that this is a good opportunity for the city — not just the city but the CRA, the chamber and the residents.”

City Finance Director Joseph Safford was more skeptical, however. As appraised, the space is worth $131 a square foot; Kinsloe is proposing to pay $90 to $91 a square foot.

Accepting the deal would leave the city still owing $2.6 million to $2.7 million for the space and little opportunity to make up the deficit.

“From a financial standpoint, I can’t see why we would accept this proposal,” Safford said.

Said Commissioner Adam Frankel: “I’d like to be able to do business with Mr. Kinsloe, but I don’t think we can at this price.”

Kinsloe maintained that his offer is fair, and that city officials would concur if he had the opportunity to sit down and explain it to them.

Mayor Woodie McDuffie praised Kinsloe for his creative approach to the space and agreed to meet with the contractor to discuss the proposal further.


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