Baronoff on Boca Teeca: “The issue is straightforward, the benefits clear….”

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Recent resident-driven issues have found success in Boca Raton. The charter change passed in August to allow citizens the right to vote for vacated council positions, and days ago the public intracoastal lands vote passed by a 2-1 margin.

It’s time for the Mayor and City Council to lead on the newest emerging issue: the purchase/swap golf course proposal by Lennar. It is my hope that they will hear the people and choose this one time only opportunity with the Ocean Breeze property in Boca Teeca.

The issue is straightforward, the benefits clear. It is also critical to recognize the western course sale cannot be just a one-time money deal, we have to look at the long-term benefits for taxpayers since we will not profit from its development. That is why the Lennar proposal is head and shoulders above the rest.

The halo effect of a public championship course within the city limits will bring substantial tax base increases and new, positive economic impacts and value to our city. Only the Lennar option can provide that. And it is important to understand that option is a one time option, and not possible unless it is part of the sale of the western course.

Some have suggested otherwise, but that is a fact.

The economic opportunities alone are enough to justify supporting the Lennar purchase/swap. But the quality of life issues for Boca Teeca and all residents are equally significant, and the history of Ocean Breeze is vital to understanding where we are now. I was there as your city council member when the Boca Teeca residents voted to amend the deed restriction and supported the rezoning and development of the Ocean Breeze golf course. The only reason the project didn’t happen was because the developer lost the property to foreclosure in the recession and the property steadily deteriorated, even as Wells Fargo and the receiver benevolently spent millions trying to keep the property going.

Unfortunately, that has come to an end, and one of our most established communities faces a life-changing crisis.

It is said great opportunities emerge from great challenges, and Lennar’s proposal does just that. Mayor Haynie said when she announced the initial version it was a win-win, and wanted to explore a purchase of Ocean Breeze. Before and since that time, Council Members Rogers and Singer have also expressed support.

The only way to secure the future of public championship golf in the city, the economic benefits of such, and the sustainability of one of our most established neighborhoods is the Lennar proposal.

It is a comprehensive solution bringing tens of millions to the city, with long-term economic value that none of the other options provide, so the Mayor and City Council would make the best deal possible for taxpayers by making good on their statements of support. I also trust in Councilmembers Weinroth and Mullaugh to recognize the bottom line value the Lennar option provides, and join their colleagues with a unanimous vote to more forward.

It is time for decisive action on this responsible opportunity that checks all the boxes.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The Boca Teeca swap will bring economic benefits but don’t forget traffic. Boca Raton has done a terrible job of managing traffic in the city limits especially along Federal Hwy and Military Trail. If the course and academy that Greg Norman proposes do materialize, what is the city going to do about traffic in and out of the course? Traffic needs to be part of the conversation since the city doesn’t seem to see traffic issues very clearly.

  2. Well said Mr. Baronoff, I too hope the Council will listen to the majority of the residents who believe having a world class public golf course within our city limits is the right choice. It is an initial win-win with far reaching long term benefits as well.

  3. I’m not seeing why this is the proverbial ‘win-win’. Other than traffic, what are the other ‘cons’ to doing the public golf course? This just reads like propaganda

  4. What is really annoying to me is that it seems that the only “solution” being pushed is to sell one viable financially profitable golf course to fund another one that is needing work and continued public golfer support. If you talk to golfers, they prefer the Boca Municipal so even if you have “championship course”, the public golfers may not support it.

    The Norman option is a great alternative to having TWO great courses available to the Boca Raton public. Why can’t the city buy the Boca Tecca course and then lease it to the Norman operation with the stipulation that the public has limited access to it? That would be a win-win situation with two public city courses rather than one.

    And to be honest, if the city refused to consider selling the Boca Municipal, then the owners of Boca Tecca might be more agreeable to sell at a reasonable price to either the city or to the Norman operations since they just want to develop the limited land left in the city for housing..

  5. Win-Win since the city receives $51 million and residents preserve over 200k acres of green space within the city AND piblic golf inside the city. Thank you Mr. Baronoff for your well written commentary the does an excellent job of providing a compelling case for the lennar swap deal.

  6. Country club golf courses are going bankrupt all over south Florida. The only professional tournament supported by the politicians and held at the old course at broken sound has announced they will not renew because golf is a sport that is dying a slow death. the PGA and course designers are desperate to find a sucker dumb enough to spend money on a project will cost a lot of money for very little value Boca is a seasonal destination that is overwhelmed with people and traffic for four months starting November every year and is deserted by the big spenders the rest of the year omalley november 22.

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