Battle over new Boca luxury rental community

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX)  Opponents of a new development planned for downtown Boca Raton are letting city commissioners know their feelings.

Dozens of residents came to a meeting this afternoon to oppose construction of a rental community downtown.

Project backers believe the development would be a positive move for Boca Raton and compare it's impact to Mizner Park.

However some residents who say they're concerned the project could lead to more traffic in the area and depressed property values already hit hard by the housing crisis.

This is Boca Raton on East Palmetto Park Road today. This is what it could like if a developer has his way. Archstone Palmetto Park would be a 700,000 sq. ft. luxury rental apartment community. A big dream but for some residents nearby a big nightmare.

"You all scare the hell out of me," says one person.

Kathleen Kennedy is a real estate broker. She says plans for rent to be more than $1600 per month for a one bedroom apartment are outlandish.

"I don't see the $1600 when we have a lot of single family homes for rent in neighborhood is going to make since they're never going to get that," says Kennedy.

Boca Raton commissioners listened to the arguments today.

Project planner. Charlie Siemon says high rents would be a boost for the city, much as he argued happened with Mizner Park.

"The facts is the values over their doubled in the first 5 years after Mizner park developed," says Siemon.

The planner says once tenants fill the 389 units the city will make more than $350,000 in taxes, still resident are worried the crime will go up and property value will go down.

"I hate to see quality go down," says one woman.

Voices of opposition dominated the commission hearing today. But others say the proposed development offers more promise than the sight of vacant buildings in the area right now.

"If a lot of these buildings remain empty that's what concerns me more," says Jody Schwartz.

Boca Raton commissioner are expected to vote tomorrow, after one final chance to weigh the promises and the pitfalls of a big new neighbor.