This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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For months now, the hottest topics for Boca Raton residents have been the sale of the Glades Municipal Golf Course and the acquisition and restoration of the Ocean Breeze Golf Course into a world class facility within city limits of Boca Raton. Although separate events, they are intimately connected to one another.
The Glades Municipal Golf Course sale has recently been work-shopped by the Planning and Zoning Board and is currently under review for final action anticipated in the near future. The Ocean Breeze Golf Course’s acquisition plan was presented to the public at a joint meeting of the City Council and the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District on Monday, May 8th. Attended by some 250 residents, Executive Director and Legal Counsel for the District, Art Koski, presented the District’s findings. Along with this, Attorney Koski, articulated with great clarity, the District’s ‘ask’ of the City Council.
In summary, the District wants to acquire the 212 acres of land and restore the 27 hole golf course. Also proposed is to contract with third parties for a golf learning center and conference facility and for the inclusion of a 120 to 130 room hotel to accommodate the facility’s demand.
The District, a ‘willing’ buyer, is proposing to pay the asking price of $24 million dollars to the ‘willing’ seller, Lennar Homes; an asking price much higher than any current appraised value of the real estate. The District is ‘asking’ the City Council to advance the $24 million to the District through an Interlocal agreement where the District will repay the City over a 20 year period both principle and interest on the money.
Mr. Koski argued that repayment of the bond would be accomplished without interrupting any of the District’s current or future financial
responsibilities and without the need for a millage rate increase to residents. Also argued was that anticipated course usage along with corollary revenues streams will allow the facility to run in a cash flow positive manner.
Simply stated, the District is asking the City Council to instruct City Administrators to draft an Interlocal agreement accommodating this financial transaction and, once drafted, present the terms for final decision in a public hearing.
The City Council, with Councilman Rodgers missing, has agreed to allow this negotiation to go forward.
Presented below is the ‘conceptual’ video provided by the District at the hearing and the financials compiled in anticipation of a City Council action. The public present at the joint hearing was overwhelmingly in support for this acquisition. Some members of the public, however, raised question with the $24 million dollar price tag. In response, the District argues that the opportunity to acquire and retain 212 acres of green space for recreational activity inside the city limits equidistant from the beach and I-95 cannot be measured in simple real estate terms. Also argued was a historical review of the foresight of past Boca Raton leaders in creating the Beach and Park District for the exact purpose of preserving green space whenever and wherever available.
You be the judge!
You, the resident, will have another opportunity to participate in this decision making process once the Interlocal agreement is prepared and available for public comment.
Stay tuned and stay involved….
Al Zucaro, Publisher
Ocean Breeze Presentation – City Council & Beach and Park District Joint Meeting
Surely, you know that a developer is never not going to make a profit on a sale regardless of who the buyer is. We wanted to try to buy the defunct Mizner Trail golf course and they expected us to pay $36 million for an unkept golf course. And, the county was very helpful to the owner by increasing the appraised price to give them leverage. PBC is only to happy to bend over backwards for a developer and screw the taxpayers at the same time, win-win.
The primary reason the Ocean Breeze property is being sold for $24 million instead of $73+ million is due to the fact that the developer is not currently pursuing obtaining development rights similar to the previous owner, MCZ Centrum. Normally the developer spends whatever time and money is necessary to get these development rights (such as Mizner Trail) and then they ask a much higher price for the municipality to preserve the green space, as was noted by Mr. Koski when the Park District acquired Ocean Strand and Sugar Sand Park properties. The established price of $73 million for a slightly smaller west Boca golf course clearly illustrates the great value the Park District and taxpayers are getting at the $24 million price. Thank you Park District for preserving valuable green space and bringing a public championship level golf amenity into our city.
This “keep golf in Boca” idea is ridiculous. The present municipal golf course on Glades Road west of the turnpike is a wonderful facility for golf. Keep it. The Ocean Breeze transaction is little more than trying to get votes from the Boca Teeca community in future local elections. Who needs golf within the city limits? It will only add to traffic congestion. The Boca Teeca residents are all for the acquisition, but no other Boca residents support this transaction. We don’t need golf in the city limits.I have no doubt hat the city council will approve this transaction. Boca residents will then have no 18 hole city golf courses for at least a couple of years because the developer that acquires the existing municipal course will want to shut it down and begin building condos and/or houses immediately. Meanwhile the Ocean Breeze course will take several years to complete. There will be no golf in Boca for quite a while.A shameful plan to get votes in the future.
You may have been reading too much incomplete/inaccurate media articles about these separate transactions. First, many visitors & residents located within the city will travel another 5-10 minutes and play golf at Osprey Point which has a net profit of $1-$2 million per year. If there is a top quality golf course within the eastern portion of the city, then this vastly improved Ocean Breeze golf course will be expected to bring some of the Osprey Point golfers into this new public course within the city.
Secondly, the current proposals to buy the city’s current municipal golf course have an estimated 18-24 month closing period. This course will continue to be owned & operated as normal by the city until this final closing. Conveniently, the eta for the redevelopment to be completed by the Park District’s new course is approximately 2 years, so there is expected to be a minimal period, if any, between the closing of the current muni course and the reopening of the new top quality course coming at the old Ocean Breeze property.
These transactions are a huge win for all parties within the city of Boca Raton, especially the financial implications that benefit taxpayers & municipal finances. One financial benefit is from the expected increased tax revenue from increased real estate taxes paid by those Boca Teeca property owners which has been estimated at $500,000 per year to the city treasury-as compared to current tax revenue from this area of 1,700+ properties. A true Win-Win scenario.
Thank you for understanding the reason for the sale of the muni golf course it has been loosing money every year $over $300 thousand dollars last year thats tax payers money .regardles of the purchase of Ocean Breeze the city was going to sell the muni especially at $73 million dollars . We worked very hard to ge the BPD to take on the awesome responsabilty and the hot potato that the city dumped on them . Regardless of the money this needs to be done we will be saving green space for the future and moving a championship golf course back into the city this means so much to everyone very few people have the vision of what this will be thanks Harold KGIB
Yes, keep the beautiful Municipal Course! It is used and loved by so many.
I still do not understand this whole thing. Close a self sustaining golf course to buy and renovate a closed golf course that is not profitable. I live in Boca Raton and the Muni course is more accessible than the Ocean Breeze course. Is it because the City of Boca needs money? They should already have more money coming in because property values are up and more housing is being built every day….please explain to me why this transaction is going ahead.
If the plan is for a public body to pay $24 million for a property that would be worth no more than $5 million in the private market and then invest another $12 million in a venture that will need taxpayer support for years in order to have green space for the Boca Teeca residents, let’s say that. We don’t need a nice public golf facility, we have one, and public “championship” level courses cost hundreds of dollars per round to play, which is not compatible with the concept of a municipal golf course.
I’m all for buying Ocean Breeze, but I’m not too thrilled with how it’s happening.
1. We can afford both properties. There is no reason to sell the muni. It’s a great open space and as they say “They ain’t making any more of it”.
2. The argument that B&P millage will not increase is not a reason to pay way more than the property is worth. Over the next 20 years, it will be impossible to determine if B&P millage rate changes are driven by the golf course financials. And any business person will tell you it’s impossible to predict revenue, expenses, etc. this far in the future.
3. Why would the city loan B&P the money to begin with? If the cash flow is what B&P says it is, why don’t we simply buy it for ourselves with the money we would loan B&P? Why put city taxpayers at risk on a loan and then end up with nothing to show for it?
Politics and financial impacts are driving these separate transactions. The city manager is happy with an additional $73 million and transferring the entire business of operating the golf course to the Beach & Park District. Politically, if the new Ocean Breeze golf course fails, then this political risk falls on the Beach & Park District & not city officials. A real No-Lose strategy by city officials.
The whole reason for InterLocal agreements between the City and the Beach and Park District is to make projects like deHoernle Park, Sugar Sand Park, Patch Reef Park and hopefully a Municipal Golf Course at Ocean Breeze possible. It is so positive to see the City and Beach & Park District finally working together on this. As citizens and residents of Boca Raton we should be grateful that they have the commitment,foresight and vision to do something so positive for our City and for future generations. And the financial ability to do it.
I really have to ask opponents if they think another development in our City is a better option than a recreational green space. With more development we will need to pay more taxes for schools, public services and roads. We will lose even more open space. We will have more congestion and overcrowding and all the problems that come with it. If we do not support and take advantage of this opportunity now, we lose it FOREVER!