GL Homes says selecting a buyer for the Boca Raton municipal golf course should be as easy as a six-inch putt for par.
GL’s bid of $73 million for the 194-acre course was the highest among 10 offers received by the city’s Oct. 21 deadline. And the Sunrise-based company, the dominant homebuilder in Palm Beach County, was the only bidder not to include contingencies, said Alan Fant, senior vice president of GL.
“We never understood from day one why there was a debate,” he said.
But Boca Raton City Council members have named two other developers as finalists to buy the course on Glades Road west of Florida’s Turnpike, outside the city limits.
Lennar Homes and Compson Boca Argent LLC also are in the mix. The council has asked city staff to research the proposals, and a decision on a buyer could come in January.
Miami-based Lennar bid $51 million as part of a proposal to buy the course and give the city title to Ocean Breeze Golf Club, at 5801 NW Second Ave. within the Boca Teeca subdivision. That course closed July 1, and Lennar is under contract to buy it from Wells Fargo.
To build on that land, Lennar would need approval from Boca Teeca residents, who have indicated they want to keep the property as a golf course.
Some residents have lobbied the city to acquire Ocean Breeze because it would put a municipal course inside the city limits.
“There are not that many options for public golf in the area,” Boca Raton resident Lesley Sanatan said. “We think [a public course at Ocean Breeze] would be a real asset for visitors and residents.”
In November, council members passed a resolution that supports “reasonable efforts” to maintain Ocean Breeze as a golf course, though officials have said that doesn’t obligate the city to accept Lennar’s offer for the municipal course on Glades Road.
Under Lennar’s proposal, the builder would receive a $10 million credit for Ocean Breeze when it completes the purchase of the municipal course, netting the city $41 million. Lennar officials did not return calls for comment.
Meanwhile, GL attended Tuesday’s City Council meeting, insisting that council members don’t have to take less money from Lennar just because the builder would give the city title to Ocean Breeze.
GL says the city should accept its $73 million offer for the municipal course and separately acquire Ocean Breeze through eminent domain.
While Mayor Susan Haynie previously has questioned whether it was permissable to acquire a golf course through eminent domain, David Smolker, a lawyer for GL, told council members it would be allowed under the law because it’s clearly intended for a public purpose.
Smolker and another GL attorney spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Council members did not discuss the golf course sale Tuesday night.
The third offer for the course is from Compson Boca Argent LLC, which originally bid $47.5 million. After the Oct. 21 deadline, Compson increased its offer to $73.2 million.
GL’s Fant said Compson should not have been allowed to increase its bid because the city previously said in writing that no offers after Oct. 21 would be considered.
Even though the city solicited bids for the golf course, it was not through a formal request for proposals and therefore remains a “fluid” process, Haynie said.
The mayor said she still wants to hear from city staff about the eminent domain matter and other issues regarding the proposals.
“I’m waiting for the additional information before I make my decision,” she said.