Forty-two years ago today, September 25, 1974, a new real estate development project located along the Atlantic Ocean shores, in the beautiful tropical enclave community of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida, on land identified specifically as “Boca Teeca Subdivision Plat Sections 1 thru 5” recorded a Deeded Covenant Restriction on their new golf course facility.
That Restrictive Covenant required that the center piece parcel of the Boca Teeca Plat, a 202+ acre 27 hole golf course, must be maintained as a golf course forever, “in perpetuity”, are the precise words used.
Since that auspicious beginning some 1,660 condo, townhome and single family detached houses have been built, bought and sold on those lands surrounding and adjacent to that 27 hole golf course, for which that Covenant was applicable.
When the course owners a few years ago sought permission from the 1,660 adjacent protected land owners, to remove 30+/- acres from the Restrictive Covenant to build 200 new townhouses, that permission was granted.
Although that proposed addition could have made the club a more profitable venture, unfortunately, a small group of those 1,660 owners still opposed and fought the reconfigured 18% of the course. This continued conflict and frustration was one of the precipitating causes that forced the course owners into total foreclosure around 2010.
The foreclosure was commenced by Wells Fargo Bank as the primary first mortgage holding institution as successor to the original Mortgagee, Wachovia Bank, whose debtor was delinquent.
In the last decade the course was operated under the name of Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club.
The foreclosure Receiver was put in-charge of the operations in 2010 and to avoid a dispute with the 1,660 adjacent Covenant protected land owners he apparently thought it wise to bring in the Arnold Palmer Golf Management Group to operate the property as a golf course which continued until June 30th of this year.
The Foreclosure is believed to have been under the direction of the Wells Fargo Bank until on or about December 30th, 2015 when the Foreclosure action was concluded with the formal sale of the course at public auction “on-line”.
That auction is understood to have had two bidders, and therefore established an arguable Fair Market Value for the real estate and the extensive personal property contents found and sold therein to satisfy their mortgage.
The highest bidder, Redus EL LLC, of Charlotte, NC, a real estate property subsidiary company owned by Wells Fargo Bank paid that FMV price of $4,000,100. As a result of that action the current 2016 Tax Assessed Valuation is now fixed at $3,600,000 on the real estate. I presume the other $400,100 paid was the estimated value of the personal property included in the sale.
Sometime after that sale, somewhere in the hierarchy of The Wells Fargo Banking empire a decision was made to ignore the Restrictive Covenant by closing the course on June 30th, 2016.
This was a blatant violation because the Covenant requires “the tract of land comprising the golf course” is limited to and can only “be used as a golf course facility for the benefit and protection” of the then “present owners… and those purchasers and grantees who shall become owners in the future of the property located in Boca Teeca Subdivision, comprising (Plat Map)
Sections 1 through 5, inclusive,” and “shall be bound by the following Covenants, to-wit:
- USE. The subject tract of land shall be used only for the purpose of a golf course facility.”
- DURATION OF RESTRICTION. These restrictions are imposed in perpetuity. (Emphasis added)
- ENFORCEMENT. In the event of a violation of these restrictions the owners of the property in the Boca Teeca Subdivision, or any of them, jointly or severally, shall have the right to proceed at law or in equity to compel compliance with the terms hereof or to prevent the violation thereof.”
In the process of attempting to complete a sale of these 202+ acres by Wells Fargo to a major home development company a violation began to occur and serious damages commenced accruing when the Golf Course was closed on June 30th, 2016!
As a result of all these contentious and neighborhood degrading actions the homeowners have organized a non-profit entity being named “The Ocean Breeze Golf & Tennis Club of Boca Raton, FL Neighborhood Association”.
At the same time a group of interested golf aficionados have begun the incorporation of a development entity, “The Ocean Breeze Golf & Tennis Club of Boca Raton, FL” that intends to make Wells Fargo an offer.
This group is very cognizant of the many problems Wells Fargo has inherited from Wachovia Bank that has cost them hundreds of million if not a billion already, not to mention great reputation and the $2.8 billion dollar lawsuit just today announced by a group of former employees. This proposal could well be a very interesting offer they will not want to refuse, in light of their current need for some good public relations news stories!
As one who has taught real estate law and real estate finance, in a college curriculum, and having had many years of experience in the real estate sales and development arena I have a small degree of expert real estate arena credentials from which I can comment here.
The damages are now accruing as owners of the 1,660 properties protected by the now violated covenant can no longer be said to be located “on a golf course. None of these properties can be marketed as being on a golf course and any realtor involved in a sale of them must ethically disclose that it may never again be a golf course either.
In addition, the closing of the operating golf course on June 30th of this year raises a serious question of the intelligence behind the current owner’s knowledge of property valuations.
On December 30th, 2015 the FMV established by a public sale was $4,000,100. as an operating golf course. Since the closing golf carts and other personalty that was included in that sale have been seen being removed from the premise. That closed golf course, minus golf accessories and other personalty, can no longer be said to be worth their established Fair Market Value!
Real Estate professionals with whom I have talked agree that the same homes or condo residences are worth an estimated $50,000 to $150,000 or more less when no longer on a golf course.
Lost property value potential to the protected land owners whom Wells Fargo is now foolishly degrading with DAMAGES, because of the violated covenant amount to:
$50,000 x 1,660 = $ 83,000.000 to
$150,000 x 1,660 = $ 249,000,000
For those interested, we have inserted a copy of the Boca Raton- Ocean Breeze deed restriction exhibit below.
Truth is, the keys to the place were handed to Lennar!
They now control the property and assets.
As a boca teeca resident for 33 years, I am encouraged that organizations are finally being formed which might more accurately represent the views of boca teeca owners. Carry on!
Ron, I doubt that the keys have been given to anyone as the property is still owned and controlled as a property of Wells Fargo’s Redus EL LLC subsidiary.
Lennar merely has a contract of sale pending there has been no closing on that sale.
More news will follow in a few days about the next step to protect our property value and Covenant Rights.
Thanks for your support. You may write me direct at DGHQ1@aol.com until we get the OBNA (Ocean Breeze Neighborhood Association) website and emails set up.
Thank you Frank too.
My wife locked the doors for the last time on that place and I can assure you that Lennar has the keys and full control over the place.
Interesting is the fact that when the place closed, you have at least one employee that worked there 49 years!
But back on subject, For the last months, every single decision on what happened at the buildings was controlled by Lennar. All assets were turned over to Lennar.
Trust me, Lennar is much further down the road to development than you might think! No one from Wells was making decisions, only Lennar until they turned the lights off for the last time.
I certainly respect your opinion and views Ron, AND WELCOME YOUR HELP but I can tell you the assets are still the legal property of AND responsibility of Wells Fargo Bank via the Redus EL LLC subsidiary… and Wells is making all final call shots here though you may see it differently when the legal buck stops it is in Wells hands to act or react not Lennar… they mely have a pending contract and have not closed to become the legal and responsible land owner…
Lennar owes us who are protected by the Covenant nothing, but Wells does and carries the total liability… unless their is a conspiracy to defeat our property rights than they will both bear a great deal of the $105 million (minimum) and $500 million (maximum) damage claim… Mark my word on this as a potential class action plaintiff…
Potential class action for sure. I’m just stating who is and was in control of the place closing. It WAS Lennar!
You residents need to wake up and become a solid together, force, or you will watch how politics work for the money instead of the residents!
It’s ‘open space’
And, open space is an endangered species; with very little protecting it.
Local government only sees it as additional property taxes to feed their everyday greater and greater appetite to spend and waste more money – like the proverbial dog chasing its’ tail. Local ‘consulting’ firms love the long drawn out process along with the long drawn out profitable hourly billing benefits – as do the league of ‘land use’ attorneys. I can picture them all salivating over this open space booty.
Who benefits?? Who lives with the mess remaining in their wake?
What “concurrency” issues are (not) being addressed with large, and out of scale to the community developments being approved?
“Concurrency is a shorthand expression for a set of land use regulations that local governments are required (by the Florida Legislature) to adopt to ensure that new development does not outstrip local government’s ability to handle it.”
South Florida needs open space for obvious environmental reasons…inhabitants also need open space and less density – something perhaps we can all attest to (In my humble opinion).
Don I as an owner am with you 100%. I am wondering how many owners have seen this message if it is only on Facebook. I have a list of more than 50 e mail addresses and have been keeping these owners up to date. If you care to e nail this article to me at email@example.com I will distribute it.
It is time for boca raton residents to call city hall (393-7700) to complain about the condition of this vacant property which is not being maintained according to city code requirements. Lennar is in control and they are purposely neglecting basic maintainable/mowing in order to encourage Boca Teeca neighbors to work with them to approve more development on the property. Neighbors should call city hall daily to seek fines for lack of maintenance as required by city code.
Andrew thanks, that is coming Monday AM in a formal written complaint and article being sent to city and published in media… send me your email at DGHQ1@aol.com
Don, it appears that you plan to takeover the Boca Teeca golf property without regard to the current legal contract with Lennar, as referenced by Ron above, since he is providing inside Information on this issue. You also clam to be able to reopen the golf course in days or weeks which does not appear to be based on any reality. You threaten to file a class action lawsuit against Wells Fago, so this will take years and certainly will not endear them to cooperate with your plans to reopen the golf course in the next few weeks. You have good ideas but they do not make any sense to anyone who has a basic understanding of real estate contract law.
You Tina appear to be willing to wait out an impossible dream… We are moving on a positive strategy that has some inside help…. If you have a better idea you should put it forward positively rather than being negative and critical about something about which you are not privy to our plan and facts.
If you understand real estate law and the facts here you would recognize there are other options and strategies open to those who are interested in swift success….
I would hope people with negative thoughts and vibes would be smart enough to remain silent and not become obstacles to our success… unless you are working for Wells and or Lennar!!!