Why some Boca residents don’t like deal that may land city $50 million and a golf course

(Staff photo by J. Gwendolynne Berry/The Palm Beach Post) Boca Raton -- Morgan Pressel chips the ball onto the green at the 16th hole of the Boca Municipal Golf Course during a Region 7-A golf match on October 17, 2005.

(Staff photo by J. Gwendolynne Berry/The Palm Beach Post) Boca Raton — Morgan Pressel chips the ball onto the green at the 16th hole of the Boca Municipal Golf Course during a Region 7-A golf match on October 17, 2005.

BOCA RATON — Two unrelated golf course sales in Boca Raton may land the city Ocean Breeze Golf Course, in Boca’s north end, along with a profit of nearly $50 million dollars — but some residents still aren’t pleased.

That’s because the city could end up overpaying for Ocean Breeze by nearly $20 million.

For months, city leaders have considered a handful of unsolicited bids from developers on Boca Raton’s municipal golf course, a 194-acre course northwest of Glades Road and Florida’s Turnpike, for up to $73 million. But city leaders also said in November they would do what it takes to acquire Ocean Breeze Golf Course, owned by Lennar Corp., which initially only offered an exchange deal involving the municipal course.

For months, the two sales were linked, delaying the process and frustrating several residents.  That’s no longer the case, city leaders said at a meeting Tuesday.

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Lennar has agreed to sell the Ocean Breeze course, a 27-hole course at 5801 NW Second Ave., to the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, a taxing body that owns and operates many parks in and around Boca Raton, for about $24 million, although that price isn’t set in stone, according to the district’s Executive Director Arthur Koski.

The city can then separately sell the western golf course, making a total profit of up to $50 million.

“We’re in a very enviable position,” Councilman Robert Weinroth said.

But some residents were concerned Lennar Corp. is overcharging for Ocean Breeze, also known as Boca Teeca Golf Course, named for its neighboring condominium complexes.

“I’m sure the residents are going to pay for it in some way,” said resident Bruce Glotzer. “Are you willing to write a $24 million mortgage on a property worth only $5 million?”

Glotzer, and several other residents, referred to two appraisals made public by GL Homes, a developer that outbid Lennar for the municipal golf course. GL Homes hired two expert appraisers to look the Ocean Breeze course and found that the course was worth only $5 million and $3.2 million, a GL Homes attorney told city staff in January.

“If somebody tells you you’re going to get $73 million, that doesn’t mean you have to throw the money away,” said Richard Siemens, a Boca Raton-based veteran developer. “What is the value of what you are purchasing?”

The beach and park district plans to get an independent appraisal by April, but Koski said he doesn’t anticipate Lennar’s $24 million asking price will change.

“I’ve been told that’s firm,” he said. “But everything is negotiable, it’s just a matter of how much.”

The city council and beach and park district will reconvene in April to work out the details.

The city may have to take a loan out on behalf of the beach and park district in order to buy Ocean Breeze, but the sale won’t affect taxes in Boca Raton and the taxable areas west of the city, Koski said.

“And the value of having this golf course in Boca Raton,” he said. “That’s immeasurable.”

If Boca sells its municipal golf course, here’s who’s buying…

It’s down to following three bidders:

  • GL Homes, which has built homes throughout central and southern Palm Beach County and offers $73 million without any contingencies.
  • Lennar Corp., which offered an exchange deal that would land the city the Ocean Breeze course and $41 million, but then offered to sell Ocean Breeze outright.
  • And Compson Boca Argent, which offers $73.18 million contingent on the developer’s ability to get Palm Beach County’s approval, necessary because the municipal golf course is outside Boca city limits.

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