Keep (Public) Golf in Boca

2

Boca Raton Neighbors,

The city is considering selling their current municipal golf course located on west Glades Rd/outside of the city limits.  There is an offer from Lennar which includes the swap of the Ocean Breeze/Boca Teeca golf course property with a total value of $38.5 million.  There are higher offers from other developers, but these other offers do not include the economic benefits offered by the city acquiring the Ocean Breeze golf property which would be open the public.

Unfortunately, at the present time the city staff is not considering the economic benefits of having a golf course available for resident and visitor recreational use even though the city has an ongoing economic development effort to bring jobs and economic benefits to our city.  There are numerous studies which detail the millions of dollars of economic benefits to local communities from public golf courses in addition to the permanent jobs (up to 100) that would be required for this operation.  Even the Palm Beach County tourist bureau (a/k/a Discover The Palm Beaches) has an active marketing effort to bring golfing visitors to our area as a recognition of the economic benefits to PB County.  The Allianz PGA golf tournament claims that their 1 week golf event brings almost $20 million in economic benefits to the city and the city is a sponsor of this event (see allianzchampionship.com).

An upcoming City Council Workshop will offer opportunities for Boca Raton residents and area golfers to express their support for Keeping (Public) Golf in Boca Raton.  This is an opportunity for residents to speak in support of this property acquisition, as well as, communicate your support for the non-profit Keep Golf in Boca that has collected over 1,000 petition signatures from residents supporting public championship level golf which is not currently available in our city.

Meeting scheduled as followed:

9/26 – immediately following 1:30pm CRA meeting – City Council Workshop with public comment available  *Expected staff review of the numerous offers for the current golf course and discussion of procedures on selecting the winning bidder – economic benefits to the city should be included in this process?

9/27 – 6pm – City Council meeting with public comment near end of agenda.

There is also the opportunity to email (see below) and/or call (561-393-7708) the city leadership in order to express your support for the city to acquire the only available championship level golf course that is uniquely available within the city and provide the recreational and economic benefits of this facility.

Thank you for your support in preserving the recreational facilities in our community which also provides significant economic benefits to our city.

Mayor Susan Haynie – shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Deputy Mayor Mike Mullaugh – mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Councilman Mayor Robert Weinroth – rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

CRA Chair/Councilman Scott Singer – ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

2 COMMENTS

  1. Last night I attended a meeting hosted by the West Boca Community Council. The topic covered was the one cent sales tax referendum scheduled for vote on November 8. In attendance was County Mayor Mary Lou Berger. Mayor Berger went off topic and brought up the potential sale of the Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course. She indicated that she has had conversations with some of the groups that are in discussions for the purchase of this property from the city. Mayor Berger indicated that she has ‘public safety’ concerns with regards to this potential sale. Her tone and temperament suggested that there may be reason for residents to be concerned for her support of any deal for the sale of this property. A word to the wise….Interested parties should take the time to meet with the Mayor. Her support is essential as county government politics may present roadblocks in getting this deal done regardless of the city’ and its residents’ desires….Al Zucaro

  2. A fair and important assessment Al, but as a former County Commissioner in my former home county of Michigan a few years back I personally know well the obstacles to relying on that city/county deal path for a solution here.

    My family owns property in Boca and has for fifty years now. My wife and I have been residents here for two decades and were snowbirds to family homes here and in Delray for three decades before becoming permanent residents.

    I would strongly suggest, and am pursuing the organization of a (1) private investor group and (2) a citizen involvement entity coming at this matter swiftly from two different perspectives to get the Ocean Breeze Course reopened ASAP, and to assure it will be kept as an operating and profitable golf course “in perpetuity” as the restrictive deed covenant guarantees.

    With the potential of the Glades Road course closing and being sold the profitability potential is greatly improved, less competition and a larger market customer potential.

    The public foreclosure sale by the court-receiver in December established a FMV of $4 million for this course as an operating business. Now as a closed facility the owner is in violation of the Restrictive Deed Covenant that protects neighboring property owners and the value of this course is declining daily. In addition, the damages to us 1,662 property owners within the protected boundry of the “Boca Teeca Plat Maps 1 through 5” is building daily as well.

    Having taught real estate law and real estate finance in a college curriculum a few years ago gives me some credentials in this subject arena. I have expert real estate professionals locally who confirm that property owners who lose their location on a golf course will lose between $50,000 and $150,000 or more, in property value. Think about this Al, that is a potential damage claim of $83,100,000 (1,662 x $50,000) or as much as $249,400,000 (1,662 x $150,000) or more to the neighborhood alone, not to mention the value the City will lose without this public course here in the world golfing center!

    Wells Fargo Bank is now also facing some major civil and criminal problems as recent news stories reflect and this potential damage suit for $250,000,000 + + will still however I am sure get their serious attention.
    Any attempt to cancel, defeat or terminate our Restrictive Deed Covenant will damage our property values even if not eventually successful!

    I for one will not sit back and wait for the uncertain and hoped-for path of a city/county, Wells Fargo/home builder deal to solve our current declining property value problem. That path will likely take up to two years and is a product of poorly informed or misguided people. In my educated opinion this is a doubtful long term course to pursue for anyone to bet on. It is a very uncertain way to HOPE to get a good result.

    Anyone trying to sell today, even if they believe that plan will work and get the course reopened eventually, will face buyers who will say “there is no golf course!” The property value losses are already therefore accruing and I will not naively accept that and I think a court of equity will understand and agree.

    I would be happy to meet and discuss the details and progress of our planned actions with you at your request. Call if you are interested or can help. 561.213.0563 Don Huber

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