The Wildflower Property – An All New Perspective


This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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*Note new image with added parking detail


The Boca Raton City Council has been steadfast in heading down the road of working on a site plan proposal that puts a brick and mortar chain restaurant on the city owned waterfront property at the base of the Palmetto Park bridge known as the Wildflower Property.  Although the property was purchased by the city (you the tax payers) in 2009, this public land has sat vacant with a no-trespassing sign ever since.

Our city has invested One Million Dollars to an out of town urban design company to consult in the planning of our Downtown, and yet no vision has been put forth by the planners or the city for this valuable waterfront linkage adjacent our downtown.  UNTIL NOW –

Jonathan Kolbe, a local, longtime resident has come forward….

Jonathan, a development industry professional, has the vision of our city and for the possibilities the future holds.  This future vision consists of unique ideas and possibilities to create landmarks and locations whose presence and success will span generations.  He states that careful and deliberate consideration of the use of our public spaces will yield the successful outcome we all hope to achieve.
His vision includes a combination of a restaurant and an active urban green space which not only speaks to the heart and soul of our community, it allows for a practical solution for the importance of revenue creation. “I feel strongly that this is THE use for this irreplaceable and immensely valuable public property”.
You can see Mr Kolbe’s brief presentation and the elements he envisions along with a site drawing using this link. It’s a MUST READ!

The Wildflower Property – An Inclusive Alternative


If you like Jonathan’s ideas we would like to hear from you, and it is crucial to contact your City Council now. Contact Info


But this isn’t the first time a city resident and architect has created an architectural vision for the Wildflower property. At a 2011 workshop regarding the use of this public land, an FAU graduate named Jose Barrera presented 9 elements of a proposal for an urban greenspace. The response from the audience was overwhelming and was met with thunderous applause. Here is his proposal.

The big question is…

What has held our city leaders back from attempting to pursue a vision that could really put Boca Raton on the map? Something that could make us special? Something fun? Something unique ? Why wouldn’t we grab the opportunity to create a legacy on our waterfront. An addition to our city that we could be proud of for years and years to come? Something to leave to our children and grandchildren. Something to show-off to our visitors. The city has hired consultants and tasked staff for many projects in our community…but this amazing piece of land, owned by the citizens, sat empty for years, then went out to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a restaurant as a public/private partnership deal with the city. It leaves us wondering WHY? WHY was no other opportunity pursued for this publicly owned property.

Don’t forget…If you like Jonathan Kolbe or Jose Barrera’s ideas we would like to hear from you, and it is crucial to contact your City Council nowContact Info


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  1. These are two wonderful possibilities and I’m sure there are more. I am hoping our city leaders can open their minds and hearts and do something a bit more creative than placing a chain restaurant on this very special property. Something everyone can enjoy, day or night. Something we can point to as a landmark. Something that shows we lead, rather than follow.

  2. I read Jonathan’s proposal and I think it is Brilliant. Is there a way to publish it so that more citizens can see it and raise their approval to the city rather than be ignorant of what should be done. I’d like to help in whatever way I can.

  3. Jonathan Kolbe’s vision for Boca’s waterfront is a breath of fresh air that our “City Fathers” should note with glee. It is a wonderful idea to enhance our city with a long term gem far more appealing than just another eatery. There are few opportunities remaining to put a “shine” on our town. While Kolbe’s plan will, I am sure, require some massaging, his approach creates a valuable, if not unique, use of public spaces. Hustons provides more blacktop and no community appeal.

  4. I am a tax payer who is not happy that the city purchased this site in the first place. Any government that wishes to purchase private property is supposed to prove the public necessity, to support spending the tax payers money. What is the public necessity for this site, and is it worth the money spent? The city should be forced to sell this property, and regulate how it is developed through the planning and zoning process. A municipality is not supposed to be in the real estate business!

    • What really raised my hackles was the exclusive use of PUBLIC property by a private entity. It is a trend throughout the United States and Europe. I think that government should be allowed to own land but they should be able to justify the acquisition.

  5. The size and location of the property is not consistent with the proposed idea. The iconic examples shown would not be applicable to this site. There is no parking, pedestrian access from any large scale venue i.e. Mizner Park so the only ones using this would be the adjacent neighbor hood.

    • Did you read the document? It addresses your concerns relatively succinctly and the site plan is drawn to scale. I would be more than happy to further discuss the design, concepts with any and all interested.

  6. Thank YOU, Jonathan. You have used your imagination and your renderings to bring to life what many of us have been trying unsuccessfully to communicate to City Council. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s hoping your renderings can spark some creativity in our City leaders for something other than a standard, chain restaurant. I have heard “we already have too many parks”. I didn’t know having too many parks in a city was a bad thing. Fact is most of the parks are east of the Intracoastal; this park would be the only one west of the Intracoastal and accessible to downtowners. Most cities would like to have many parks for residents to enjoy but cannot because they went the route of brick and mortar. Mr. Gromann, a P&Z Board member, brings up the idea of creating “pocket parks” in the downtown area. Well, look no further, you can have a unique one at this site. A restaurant on this waterfront property will be like all the other cities to the north and south of us. It’s the same idea and an old one. Let’s make this beautiful property a unique and special destination for all citizens to use. Thank you again for your time, energy and effort you put forth to present your ideas.
    Note: I do not support a public-private partnership on taxpayer owned land. This is the only idea that Jonathan made for income generation (bistro or diner) that I do not support. Food trucks are different and welcomed. The City does not need income and this purchase was not intended to be for income. Public land should be just that.

  7. Our City will benefit, both now and well into the future, from this approach to a valuable piece of property. Well Done!!
    Fingers crossed that this does not fall on deaf ears.

  8. Dear Mayor Haynie and City Council Members,
    I suspect that by now most of you have seen the Jonathan Kolbe Wildflower presentation. I haven’t met Jonathan, but I applaud this Boca resident for putting his own time and energy into this. I would have thought in the past six years the city may have done something along these lines to present to the public, as an alternative plan. Clearly it could be massaged, boat docks, outdoor dining, rental options etc. In any case, it is clear that there are ideas here that have the potential of creating a special and unique sense of place in our city. In my opinion, this piece, along with the presentation from the FAU student Jose Barrera from the 2011 Wildflower workshop are very impressive.
    It’s hard to be an original thinker! But it sure would be a breath of fresh air for our city.
    Sincerely yours,
    Andrea O’Rourke

  9. We, Boca Raton, have a unique and wonderful opportunity. As a world class destination, we must continue to be innovative and creative in our decision making of land use. The most popular places in the world are attractive due to their originality and they offer something special. To continue to attract residents and guests we MUST provide that something special. We are abundant in restaurants and natural beauty. We have been and continue to forge ahead in cultural events and places. We need public places of equal stature and interest.

  10. These proposals for the Wildflower are a good starting point, but I do believe that this property should not have a restaurant. This is publicly bought property that should remain for the use of all residents/taxpayers. I suspect that the powers that be would be distressed by these proposals as it does not “accommodate” their cronies. We have too much hard scape and cement in our downtown now; these proposals offer the green space that is so desperately needed.

  11. I must provide positive comment to Jonathan on this work. It really looks good and he has good ideas. I also think some of these could be used in the “pocket park” concepts for the “interior downtown”. Perhaps the City waterfront vision will bring people closer together. While residents may “agree to disagree” on various things fiscal and otherwise, positive ideas of any kind that make Boca unique are good. There is a lot of leeway to do great things.

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