The Metropolitan in Downtown Delray Beach's SofA District

Upscale condos could be headed to Delray Beach's up-and-coming SOFA district — if the city bends some of its downtown development rules. On Tuesday, commissioners will consider approving plans for a 48-unit condo called The Metropolitan, which would include shops, office space and a public plaza. The 5-story building would be built on the northeast corner of Southeast Third Avenue and Southeast First Street in an area marketed by the nickname SOFA, for its location south of the city's bustling Atlantic Avenue. City officials are branding SOFA as the city's newest urban neighborhood. The Metropolitan would join several other developments aimed at attracting young professionals who want to live just off Atlantic and close to the beach.

"I am excited about what's going on right now," said Commissioner Al Jacquet, who lives in the SOFA district. "It's a great time for that area with all the construction. It's been given a face-lift that the area has needed for a very long time."To make the proposal possible, the developer is asking for additional height, greater density and permission to build more one-bedroom units than the city's rules allow.

The proposal calls for the building to reach 57 feet, higher than the 48-foot limit. The plans also call for more units per acre than the city allows. And 50 percent of the units would be one-bedroom, higher than the 30 percent maximum. Typically the city wants developers to include a variety of unit types in their designs to attract a mix of single residents and families.

However, Delray officials have eased some of the city's development rules to allow for several neighboring projects, including the Strand apartment complex, which will be to the west, and the SOFA loft and offices project, under construction to the south. The Metropolitan project's architect, Richard Jones, said the building will feature 24-hour concierge service, a fitness center and rooftop deck. Jones, a Delray architect, is also the architect for the SOFA loft and offices project.

Jones said the condos have open loft plans and several models have large outdoor decks. He estimates the units will sell for about $500 per square foot. The units range in size from 920 square feet to 1,700 square feet.

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