Boca residents question $24 million price in golf course deal

As of now, the district is seeking financing options, such as a bond, from the city to buy Ocean Breeze from Lennar Homes LLC.

“Somehow it’s going to have to get paid, and it’s OK to get tough on Lennar,” said resident Bruce Glotzer.

But the district’s chairman of the board said he doesn’t see any wiggle room with the $24 million figure.

“The price is the price,” chairman Robert Rollins said. “That’s not going to change.”

Last month, the district offered to buy Ocean Breeze to assist city officials, who were originally in talks with Lennar to swap the property plus cash for the city-owned Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course at 8111 Golf Course Road.

Lennar representatives declined to comment Tuesday.

The deal comprises the golf course as well as the adjacent commercial buildings including a former hotel.

Previous appraisals of the course came in at significantly less than $24 million. District officials have defended the price by saying the previous appraisals did not account for the commercial property.

The district did not have figures analyzing the worth or cost of repair of the additional facilities.

“The question really basically is what is the value of what you are purchasing?” resident Richard Seimans said at the meeting Tuesday.

Ocean Breeze, at 5801 NW 2nd Ave., sits in the Boca Teeca neighborhood near the north side of the city. It closed last summer due to declines in revenue and the property is limited as far as development unless the local residents consent otherwise.

“We’re going to take a look at what the operating expense is going to be and take a look at what we can really imagine as a revenue stream not losing sight of the fact that this was a losing golf course,” Councilman Robert Weinroth said.

Nationally, golf membership has steadily declined and some courses have closed shop due to the sport falling in popularity.

Still, the city gave the district permission last month to continue negotiations to acquire the property to open it as a golf course again.

Arthur Koski, the district’s executive director, said the city could have a revenue-generating course after a partnership with professional golfer Greg Norman, who he said has expressed interest in collaborating on a youth education program.

“In each and every one of my conversations with the Norman group, they are chopping at the bit to become part of the city of Boca Raton,” Koski said.

The city is still weighing three $73 million bids, including one from Lennar, on its sale of the Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course, which is located outside of city limits.

And while no action was taken Tuesday, the City Council is scheduled to meet again with the district on April 24. Rollins said he hopes to have more exact numbers on the cost of the additional property by that time.



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