By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
The next step toward purchase of the vacant Ocean Breeze golf course property, in Boca Teeca, will be a joint meeting between the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District and Boca Raton City Council on July 24 at 4:30 p.m. — at a yet to be determined venue.
“The city is not buying it [the golf course property]. The District is going to buy it,” said Beach & Park District Board Administrator Madlane “Maddy” Bentivegna on June 12.“The city will be funding it for us through a bond issue. The city is going to take out a revenue bond. The District will [then] make payments to the bonding company. All of the details have not been worked out yet.”
The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District voted unanimously to execute a contract for Ocean Breeze at its May 22 meeting. About 25 people attended the meeting, including Board members.
Also at the May 22 meeting, the Board granted unanimous permission to draft a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a golf course architect to design the envisioned 27-hole, world- class golf course.
“I’ll bring it back before you before putting it out,” Beach & Park District Executive Director/Attorney Arthur C. Koski said of the RFP.
Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club first opened in 1968 as Ocean Breeze Golf Club, and has been closed since 2016.
On Oct. 28, 2013, PGA professional Don Law offered golf lessons for kids at Ocean Breeze.
The property contains three 9-hole golf courses, a hotel, and a country club building with outdoor pool, indoor restaurant and fitness center.
Beach & Park District Commissioner Robert K. Rollins Jr. addressed the $24 million purchase price for the Ocean Breeze property.
“Am I happy with the price? No. Is Lennar willing to negotiate? No. I have made full disclosure and been transparent with the public,” he said.
Resident Harold Chaffee said, “If you pass this up, it’s going to be developed [anyway].”
“I don’t think we can pass this opportunity up. If we do, I think we’d rue the day,”Koski said.
Koski discussed an agreement for the District to purchase the 202-acre property known as Ocean Breeze.
Koski said that a subsidiary of Wells Fargo had a foreclosure on the property. It went to contract with Lennar (a Fortune 500 company based in Miami). Lennar is the current holder of the property.
Koski said he presumed that if the purchase price is $24 million, the majority of that would go to settle an old $17 million debt. The property is going to be sold to us from Redust, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo, he said.
Koski said that the originally-slated closing date is Oct. 27, 2017.
“At the May 8 Boca City Council meeting, one of the council members asked to be allowed an option for three, 30-day extensions,” Koski said. “Conceivably, it could be extended to Jan. 27, 2018.”
Koski continued that the District isn’t obligated unless the conditions of purchase are met:
The District receives in writing consent to buy the property from the City of Boca Raton. “I have verbal but not written agreement,” he said on May 22.
An executed interlocal agreement (ILA) exists between the city and the District stating that the city will provide closing funds. “If we don’t get the ILA from the city, there is no obligation to close,” he said. “Once we actually get the money, the cash in hand to close on the property, it requires 10 percent of the purchase price. We give a $2.4 million deposit to be held in escrow.”
Commissioner Erin Wright said, “I’m super cheap. I want to make sure we’ve exhausted all the options for best price. I think we all know the condition of the hotel property – that it’s
about to fall down. We may not to have to do demolition. We may [also] have to do a couple soil tests on the property. If we find it’s somehow contaminated, we have the ability to back out…”
Commissioner Susan Vogelgesang said she agreed the purchase price is a lot money, but she would like to see it moved forward.
“I’ve been sitting with Lennar since the beginning. Yes it’s high [the $24 million purchase price],” Koski said. “But [the golf course] will be of substantial value for your kids and their kids. I’m a taxpayer here too, and pay lots of real estate taxes.”