A master plan filed in the village, and scheduled to come before officials next week, marks a milestone for a project years in the making and a topic of curiosity for thousands of daily commuters on Southern Boulevard.
“It’s going to be the CityPlace of the western communities,” said Michael Tuttle, manager of Tuttle Land Investments.
The reference to West Palm Beach’s signature hub of restaurants, shops and housing coincides with the involvement of the Related Group, a sister company to Related Cos., a firm founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and a prominent player in CityPlace. Related is building 392 apartments in an early phase of the Royal Palm Beach project, though it has announced no connection to commercial development there.
A black and white map lays out in broad strokes the big picture for a total of about 1,100 apartments and single-family homes, a charter school for 1,500 students, a park on more than 10 acres and a commercial center of nearly 32 acres. Connecting it to Southern Boulevard: A bridge expected to run seven lanes wide.
The map sketches in few details about commercial development, with no explicit references to a hotel, high-end restaurants, a gas station, coffee shop or other amenities that have come up in advance chatter about the plan.
Passing motorists can see the preparation for the bridge across the C-51 canal west of State Road 7. They can also glimpse a log cabin, a rustic reminder of properties Tuttle bought up over many years in anticipation of the development.
Behind the Lowe’s store on the southwest corner of Southern and State Road 7, a sign says “Acme Ranches, Private Equestrian Community.” The “s” in equestrian broke off somewhere along the way. The road soon turns from pavement to dirt.
The community remained tucked away for decades, almost an alternate universe near what soon became one of Palm Beach County’s most heavily-traveled intersections.
Not everyone approached to sell property in the area agreed to do so.
Bradford Bell, 77, said he was offered $2 million for his 13 acres near the southern end of the project. His parents bought land here in the 1960s, he said. Horses roamed a pasture near his two-story house Tuesday.
“You turn here and you’re out of the gridlock,” Bell said. “That’s what I like.”
Retaining road access to his property, as well as utility services and mail delivery, has proven anything but easy amid all the preparations to build, he said.
Still, he said no thanks to selling. He said he intends to live out his life where he is.
“I’m hanging on right now just to irritate them,” Bell said.
The master plan signals a readiness to move ahead without him and a few other property owners who declined to sell bordering tracts.
The map refers to a “signalized intersection” at the Southern Boulevard entrance. Another intersection with a traffic light has been proposed to connect the development with State Road 7 to the east, by way of Erica Boulevard.
The territory has become part of Royal Palm Beach that extends south of Southern Boulevard, though a few wrinkles arise because of its location. Wellington utilities are slated to serve the Related apartments, for example.
The map calls the project “Village Royale,” though “Tuttle Royale” has surfaced as a possible name going forward. Tuttle executives said additional details will come in time.
The comprehensive plan is scheduled to come before a Royal Palm Beach planning agency meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. The village council is expected to take it up on a first reading Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at 1050 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard. Components of the project will come up for second reading and possible adoption in September and October.