By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
Boca Raton will soon have a golf course designed by Price Fazio.
The former 27-hole Ocean Breeze Golf Course at 5801 NW 2 Ave. has been closed since 2016. It first opened in 1968 and it will soon be known as the Boca National Golf Club in Boca Teeca.
After a first public input session attended by the design team on Aug. 7, golf course architect Tom Fazio II said he had no official comment at this time whether he would recommend a 27-hole or 18-hole golf course. He said he would present both 18- and 27-hole options, likely at the next meeting. He needed to do economics on both options first.
About 18 residents – many from Boca Teeca — spoke at the meeting to which about 50 people came out. Several spoke in favor of a 27-hole design; a similar number wanted an 18-hole design. A third group suggested waiting to hear from the architect on which design better fits the space.
As of press time, a second public input session to hear from residents and some information from the design team was approaching on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m., in Sugar Sand Park Community Center, where the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District meets.
A third meeting was expected to reveal recommendations from Price Fazio, and allow residents to comment on them, according to the Beach & Park District. Dates for the third meeting — as well as another joint meeting with Boca City Council to discuss specifics on the golf course, and financing, had yet to be set.
While the City Council agreed to help finance the $24 million purchase of the golf course property by taking out a revenue bond, which the District will repay, for an amount not to exceed $20 million, it has not agreed to fund other phases, such as golf course development, and
building of a new clubhouse.
At the July 23 joint meeting, City Manager Leif Ahnell said there’s no money in the budget right now for the golf course.
Beach & Park District Commissioner Craig Ehrnst said he was not looking for a loan, but for partnership with the city.
“I’m looking for a Commitment that you’ll think about how to provide financing for it,” he said. “I’d say you’d need to put in [another] $15 to $20 million.”
Executive Director of the Beach & Park District Arthur Koski said he was simultaneously exploring different options for funding, including private funding.
An idea raised by Beach & Park District Commissioners, and some residents, to have proceeds from the sale of the city-owned, 194-acre, Boca Municipal Golf Course in the west fund development of the District-owned, 212-acre Boca National Golf Course in the east, was not picked up by the City.
City Council members pointed out that the City had yet to receive any proceeds from the west golf course, because sale of the golf course had yet to go through. The Council had merely approved the sale of the golf course at an earlier meeting.
According to Assistant City Manager Mike Woika on Aug. 15, the actual sale of the golf course still has yet to go through. He said the Council on Nov. 14, 2017 approved a $65 million contract for sale of the golf course, which stipulates closing in 18 months – by late spring.