Index Investment Group wants to build an office project with retail, a café, apartments and a marina in Jupiter, marking at least the third time the firm has attempted to develop the waterfront site in seven years.
The Jupiter-based company is proposing the two-building project on 3 acres it owns at 401 North Alternate A1A along a canal, according to an application Index filed to the town and records database Vizzda.
Flagler’s Wharf, as the project is called, would include a five-story building with 30,000 square feet of offices on the top two levels, parking on the first three levels, and about 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, Index founder Bjarne Borg told The Real Deal. Roughly 20,000 square feet of the office space would be for medical uses. On the fifth floor, Index is proposing three apartments, each spanning roughly 1,000 square.
The second building would be a one-story café spanning 2,500 square feet, including outdoor seating along a 13-slip marina, according to Borg.
Jupiter’s planning and zoning board is expected to consider the site plan at its meeting on Nov. 14, though so far the proposal hasn’t impressed town administrators. The town council members are expected to also take up the proposal at their Dec. 21 meeting.
In a Nov. 7 letter, Jupiter Planning Director John Sickler wrote that the proposal does not meet the town’s comprehensive development master plan and the project isn’t consistent with the neighborhood’s character.
“We really don’t understand what the town wants here,” Borg told TRD. “There are no historic buildings around. It’s just one- and two-story box buildings. … All dilapidated buildings that have no design components to them and no historical [significance] at all.”
The five-story building would have a wedding-cake design, where the top two levels would step back from the bottom three levels, and a façade would hide the parking, he said. The project can be developed by-right, meaning it needs no rezoning.
But the intent of the town’s development regulations isn’t necessarily to “match older properties” but to redevelop the area in a way that “reflects and reinforces” the area’s history, Sickler, the town planner, wrote in his letter.
Part of the historical context for the neighborhood is that Henry Flagler, the industrialist known as the founder of the Florida East Coast Railway that runs through the state, had the canal fronting the development site dredged. Index proposes to add a historical market on the property in an homage to the site’s ties to Flager.
Index paid $2.6 million for the development site in 2016, at the time a mobile home park, records show. The firm’s past redevelopment attempts included a proposal for an assisted-living facility and then for workforce housing, though the town eventually shot down both applications, according to Borg.
Jupiter has been largely devoid of the building boom that’s swept most of the rest of the tri-county region. Among the few projects on tap is Rich Properties’ 35 townhouse rental complex at 50 Bush Road.