A $200,000 grant brings Boca Raton company to Delray’s Innovation Corridor on Congress Avenue.
March 18, 2013|By Maria Herrera, Sun Sentinel
Delray Beach just landed a huge catch: a law firm that wants to relocate to the city. The bait: $200,000 in grants.
City officials are expected to cement a job creating incentive agreement Tuesday with Aldridge Connors LLP for the creation of 250 new and existing jobs in Delray’s Innovation Corridor — a stretch of Congress Avenue south of Linton Boulevard.
The $200,000 incentive would be spread out over five years, with the first payment of $40,000 coming in September.
“That’s enough to make these guys make the jump,” said Vin Nolan, the city’s economic development director. “They have 180 employees and want to expand and move in at the same time.”
Aldridge Connors is a multi-state law firm with offices in Atlanta and Boca Raton. The firm represents financial institutions including banks, mortgage servicing concerns and institutional investors.
The deal is the first under a program geared to attract new companies to the city, but especially to the Congress Avenue corridor, for which the city has a vision.
The plan to transform the area has several layers: City officials dipped into reserves last year to establish a $1 million economic development fund to finance incentives geared to aggressively attract new businesses, such as Aldridge Connors.
Nolan and consultants also are trying to create a buzz around the area, touting its proximity to downtown and to Boca Raton’s corporate hub just to the south.
The idea of creating a district that could attract the work force, as well as businesses that could relocate national or international headquarters to the area, dates back to former Mayor Jeff Perlman’s administration between 2000 and 2007.
Since then, city officials approved new zoning for 225 acres along Congress Avenue. Commissioners voted to increase density and allow developers to build condos and apartments next to restaurants, dry cleaners and hair salons. The new zoning also allowed taller buildings than elsewhere in the city.
A new rental project just south of Atlantic Avenue, Alta Congress, recently opened. It was the first to be approved in the new district in 2008. The Regus Center also opened in the Arbors Office Park in the December, in the same building Aldridge will occupy.
The strategy there is to recreate what Boca Raton did with the MedUTech effort — a partnership created to attract businesses in the medicine, education and technology industries. Delray Beach would focus on attracting industries that better match its identity as a creative city. Nolan said he continues to work on attracting technology oriented businesses