Two eight-story buildings could rise from the corner of Dixie Highway and Camino Real in downtown Boca Raton within the next two years.
The project, called Camino Square, would put 350 new apartments near where a defunct Winn-Dixie grocery store sits, at 171 W. Camino Real.
“We’re taking an abandoned property and making it livable,” Ele Zachariades, a lawyer representing the developer, told residents Tuesday.
The blueprints call for two eight-story buildings, one with 199 apartments and the other with 151 units. Nestled among the buildings would be two parking garages providing 631 spaces and a public dog park.
The site is on the corner of Camino Real and the Florida East Coast Railway tracks, just off Dixie Highway next to the Boca Express Train Museum. It includes a closed shopping plaza that once contained a church, nail spa and an accounting business.
Camino Square faced skepticism from several residents Tuesday — they were concerned about adding traffic to the Camino Real and Dixie Highway intersection, the impact of more residents on the schools and any increases in demand for city utilities.
“It’s kinda like, ‘build, baby, build,’ and we’ll figure out how it works,” said resident James Hendrey, who expressed concern over the influx of living units downtown.
Since 2013, 1,181 new apartment units and condos have gone up downtown while about another thousand have been approved by the city so far.
Camino Square’s developer is FCI Residential Corp., a subsidiary of sugar industry giant Florida Crystals Corp., a West Palm Beach-based sugar producer.
FCI’s managing director Juan Porro appeared at a Boca Raton Federation of Homeowner’s Associations meeting Tuesday. He said his company will be able to fill the units even with all the new apartment and condo buildings being developed downtown.
“There’s probably a few thousand units [existing], but then some of them are very old,” Porro said.
Camino Square would take up nearly half of the plaza’s 9.12 acres.
The other half is owned by Kimco Realty Corp., a New York-based developer.
Kimco has not yet detailed any plans for its portion of the property and did not return requests for comment.
The former Winn-Dixie announced its closure in 2010.
Plans for Camino Square surfaced last year, a few months after the tenants of the plaza were given notices to move out.
The project hasn’t yet been reviewed by the city, but Zachariades said her goal is to have the project approved within the next four months. Construction would then take 20 months, Porro said.