BOCA RATON — A contract was drawn up for the $24 million purchase of Ocean Breeze Golf Club by the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District — a price tag that’s at least $14 million more than the land was appraised at, officials said Monday.
The district reviewed the first draft of a contract to purchase Ocean Breeze, a 27-hole course near the Boca Teeca condominiums in the city’s north end, along with general financial projections at a meeting Monday.
The district contracted an appraisal of the 214-acre course, owned by developer Lennar Corp., by Jupiter-based real estate consultants Calloway & Price in December, although that wasn’t revealed until Monday’s meeting. The company appraised the land between $7-10 million, said Arthur Koski, executive director of the beach and park district.
“(Calloway & Price) just gave a general description of it,” Koski said just after the meeting. “They said they couldn’t get north of $10 million.”
The appraisal was based merely on the land, not on the value of the land as a golf course based on comparably used lands, said Koski, who has been a defender of the $24 million land deal despite concerns raised by some residents.
“The parks district has all the cards, yet it’s acting like it has none,” said Boca resident Judith Teller Kaye, pointing to the December appraisal. Kaye is co-founder of Boca Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, a local group that looks closely at city spending.
Koski projects the golf course could generate between $1-2 million annually.
“Property has a value on the basis of what we can do with it,” he said, adding that 200-plus acres of green space in east Boca Raton is rare to find and invaluable.
Several residents, particularly those who live in the Boca Teeca condominiums that surround Ocean Breeze, have for more than a year pushed to preserve the land as a golf course. A deed restriction is in place that prevents Lennar Corp. from developing on the greens without support from a majority of condo owners.
But some residents have criticized the $24 million asking price.
“Please do not be so quick to waste taxpayer money,” Kaye told the district commissioners.
Renovating the now-closed course will also cost the district up to $10 million, plus additional annual costs for maintenance.
While the contract between Lennar Corp. and the beach and park district isn’t finalized, the $24 million asking price likely won’t change, Koski said.
The district will present detailed financial projections to the city council and staff on May 8. The city must agree to loan the district the money needed to buy the course before the deal can be finalized.