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As old buildings disappear in Boca Raton, will its downtown lose its charm?

Pedestrians cross Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton.
Carline Jean
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Pedestrians cross Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton on Friday, March 25, 2022. The downtown has seen a building boom, and many who live or work downtown want a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere to come with it.

Gone is a nearly 100-year-old Boca Raton home that was recently toppled to make way for redevelopment. And many more buildings may be next. It all has left some community members worried that the area’s historical charm could be lost forever.

The demand for new buildings has pitted competing interests against each other: The constant growth of Boca Raton, which has seen thousands of residences added in recent years, against the desire to preserve decades-old buildings tied to the city’s character.

“These little buildings are a link to our past. They’re tangible links to our history and if we tear them all down … we might as well be a new community,” said Susan Gillis, curator of the Boca Raton Historical Society and Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum. “If they want to live out west in a new community they can, but those of us who live east like to have a little history and a little character.”

Read more from our news partner, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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