The City of West Palm Beach Gets the Green Light to Move Forward with the Okeechobee Business District After Suit Dismissed

The City of West Palm Beach Gets the Green Light to Move Forward with the Okeechobee Business District After Suit Dismissed

Recently, the City of West Palm Beach celebrated a legal victory when a lawsuit against the creation of a new business district was dismissed on appeal. The suit was filed by office building owners who argued that the district’s creation would allow for the construction of an office building that would block their waterfront views. With the legal action gone, the City of West Palm Beach now has the green light that it needs to move forward with the Okeechobee Business District.

222 Lakeview, LLC v. The City of West Palm Beach

The Okeechobee Business District, or OBD, is a downtown West Palm Beach development that will include a 25-story Class A office building near the First Church of Christ Scientist. The Plaintiffs, 222 Lakeview, LLC, are the owners of Esperante Corporate Center and have sued the defendants, The City of West Palm Beach, Related Urban Development, L.P., and First Church of Christ Scientist West Palm Beach, Inc., arguing that the city’s alleged zoning district was a pretense. 222 Lakeview, LLC argued that, in truth, West Palm Beach illegally approved the district to allow developer Related Companies to build a competing luxury office tower between Esperante and the Lake Worth Lagoon. An administrative judge found in favor of the defendants, and 222 Lakeview, LLC, appealed to a Circuit Court in Palm Beach County.

However, when the matter was brought before the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Palm Beach County, the Hon. James Martz granted summary judgment against Lakeview, LLC. Judge Martz ruled that the district was legally created, it did not constitute spot zoning, and that it had been determined in another proceeding, “that there was no increase in density or intensity and that there was no change in use.”

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James celebrated the ruling citing to it as evidence that the city did everything necessary to establish the district properly. Mayor James also said, “The district paves the way for a new era of growth in our city.”

According to recent reports, Related Companies, who also developed Rosemary Square, the Hilton West Palm Beach convention center hotel, and several other West Palm projects, is proposing to build One Flagler tower, a 25-story building that would be erected at 154 Lakeview Ave. at the western foot of the Royal Park Bridge. The Related Companies project has been met with opposition on the basis that the new tower would create more traffic in the area.

David E. Klein, Esq. and Guy Rabideau, Esq. are Florida Bar Board-Certified Real Estate Attorneys with the experience you need for all aspects of your Palm Beach County real estate transaction. We have the expertise and local knowledge you need to ensure that your interests are protected during every stage of the process.  Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your real estate legal needs.

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