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City of Boca Raton sued by developers

Last month, a local property management and real estate firm filed suit against the city of Boca Raton. Petitioners allege that the city refused to approve rules for the addition of as many as 2,500 new apartments and condos around the Town Center mall.

Crocker Partners seeks $137.6 million in damages for their losses. They allege that the City Council voted to reject the development of Midtown Boca, which diminishes the value of Crocker's already existing properties in addition to the value of the vacant land. Plaintiffs allege that this particular dispute decreased the value of the 67 acres owned by the company.

Properties cited include Boca Center, the dining and shopping plaza that's located on Military Trail. The proposed development was to be built between the Town Center and Interstate 95.

Stated Crocker Properties' managing partner, "Due to the fact that the city has taken an obstructionist, non-cooperative approach, we are left with no choice but to move forward [with the lawsuit]."

He added that the firm was "saddened that the city has forced our hand in this matter and is endangering the financial health of our community and placing a tremendous burden on its citizens and our neighbors."

The company accuses the city of failing to respond to offers to negotiate a solution to the parties' dispute.

The initial proposal was to build Midtown Boca, a "live-work-play" center. It would have residences, restaurants and shops and connect the Town Center with the Tri-Rail station. Residents counter that the proposed development was too dense.

The mayor of Boca Mayor claimed this summer that the plans left "too many unanswered questions about traffic, transportation and getting people across Military Trail," as reported in August by the Sun Sentinel.

Anyone facing a similar situation needs to seek the counsel of a real estate attorney to avoid costly and lengthy litigation.

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