The 153 rural acres at 16133 Jupiter Farms Road has a long history — from being a gangster hideout in the 1920s to a home and film studio for legendary actor Burt Reynolds in the 1980s.
For the past decade, it has been the site for a much-hoped-for public middle school for Jupiter Farms.
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History of the Burt Reynolds Ranch
- The original home on the property was built by notorious gangster Al Capone in 1923, and it was reportedly used as a hideout for gangsters during that era.
- Actor Burt Reynolds owned the property for decades and had homes, a ranch and a petting zoo on the land.
- Reynolds filmed parts of the legendary film “Smokey and the Bandit” there in the 1970s, as well as scenes for his short-lived television series “B.L. Stryker” in the late 1980s.
- Reynolds married actress Loni Anderson at a chapel on the property in 1988.
- The Palm Beach County School District bought the land from Reynolds for $3.8 million in 1999.
- As late as 2006, district officials outlined plans to Jupiter Farms residents to build a middle school on the property by 2009.
- In 2011, the district began trying to sell the property to deal with budget woes, saying population growth in Jupiter Farms did not warrant a new middle school anytime soon.
- In August 2012, Jupiter Equestrian Center owner Sandi Johnson offered to buy the land for the appraised value of $4 million. That deal fell apart.
- On Wednesday, the school board will vote on a proposal to sell the land to New Jersey-based developer K. Hovnanian Homes for $5 million.
Source: Palm Beach County School District; Post archives.