Monday’s city council agenda (January 23, 2017) includes a discussion on the city’s potential sale of their municipal golf course that is located outside of city limits (west of the turnpike). There are three offers under consideration and the city council is expected to determine which offer is in the best interest of the City in their selection process.
The Lennar offer for $41 million includes the swap of the Boca Teeca golf course property ($51 million without the golf course swap), but this does not include the hotel property on the Southeast corner of NW 2nd Ave. & Jeffrey St. Residents have opposed the exclusion of the hotel property and have encouraged Lennar to include this property in order assure that a public use would be expected for all of the properties formerly operated as the Ocean Breeze golf course. Is the Lennar offer in the best interest of the City as compared to offers from two other developers for $73 million?
If the city accepts the highest cash offer, then there is no further economic benefit to the city, that is, no additional use by residents or tourists who may wish to play a public championship level golf course within our city. What is the economic benefit of a public golf course – $1 million to $5 million or more per year? The Allianz golf tournament at the Broken Sound Old Course touts over $20 million in economic benefits for this one week event each year over the past few years it has been located within our city.
What is the economic value of acquiring and preserving over 200 acres of green space in our city? If the city paid $150,000 per acre for the land where the Countess de Hornle park was developed, then the comparable value of over 200 acres of open space would be valued at over $30 million. When this valuation of $30+ million is added to the $41 million cash from Lennar, this would approximate the offers from the other developers without including the ongoing economic benefits mentioned above. I will not even attempt to compare the value of the 200 acres in Boca Teeca to the Wildflower property that the city bought for over $3.3 million/acre which has yielded no public benefit for over seven years, as this would result in an astronomical comparable valuation for the golf course property.
The residents in the Boca Teeca community are looking for a permanent solution to preserving the golf course property as green space and for the property to be used only as a golf course, as required by their deed restriction on the golf course property. Should the city decide to accept the Lennar offer (hopefully enhanced to include the hotel property) then this would not only benefit this area of north Boca Raton, but the entire city would benefit as top quality a 27-hole golf course would be expected to attract many visitors and new residents to our area, especially during the winter months. Under the operation of the Arnold Palmer Golf Management Company, the Ocean Breeze golf course often had over 300 players per day during the winter months which would bring economic benefits to the entire city. The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District has unanimously agreed to cooperate with the city in the acquisition and improvement of the golf course property at Boca Teeca which would serve all residents and attract a high caliber of golfer/visitor to our area.
City residents and golfers are encouraged to attend meetings at city hall and speak in support of bringing championship level public golf to our city. This is a Win-Win deal for the city and the residents.