City commissioners Monday cleared a hurdle for what would be West Palm Beach’s largest redevelopment project since CityPlace.
In 2011, an investor group led by the Hardrives paving company founder George Elmore paid $11 million for the President Country Club and its two courses, which are surrounded by the Lands of the President, a mix of single-family homes and condominiums north of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and east of Interstate 95.
The group proposes converting the President Country Club’s north golf course — now known as the Patriot Golf Course — into a 119-acre commercial zone with a three-story, 250-room hotel, 23 resort rental villas linked to the hotel, 100 single-family homes and a 15,000-square-foot spa.
Developers also propose a building housing 200 condominiums that could be as high as 20 stories
Staff said the proposed resort hotel would include meeting and banquet facilities, outdoor pools and tennis courts, snack shops, delis and daycare centers.
Also, the existing golf clubhouse would be razed and a new 20,000-square-foot one built at the south end of the property and linked to the remaining Eagle course.
Monday’s three votes to adopt the rezoning the project requires were all 4-1, with Sylvia Moffett opposed.
Kieran J. Kilday of Urban Design Kilday Studios, who’s steering the project, said the commission still must take separate votes on the site plan for the 100 homes, likely in the next three to four months, and on the hotel, which won’t happen until a hotel plan is locked in.
According to a staff memo, the club opened in 1969. After membership declined and the club became financially unstable, it was sold in 2011. At the time, it represented the only private golf course east of Interstate 95 within the city.
As part of the new ownership, millions of dollars of improvements were made to the clubhouse facility and the south golf course, known as The Eagle course, to try to attract more members. But that failed and the Patriot course closed.
Condominium residents have been torn on the plan. City development services director said in March that 80 percent of neighbors support it, but associations of the two nearby mid-rise condos said they doubted that figure and they didn’t want a big commercial development in their backyards.
City commissioner Kimberly Mitchell said at Monday’s meeting that residents also have complained about having their view of lakes marred by a giant parking lot. She proposed a 1-story garage that would limit the “footprint.”
Kilday told the commission the developer would agree to that and that was included in Monday’s vote.