Fountains club OKs $17 million land sale to GL Homes


Members of the Fountains Country Club have approved the $17 million sale of country club land to GL Homes, which plans to build 470 housing units at the suburban Lake Worth club.

The sale, first reported June 2 by The Palm Beach Post, includes parts of the North Golf Course, one of the club’s three courses, as well as undeveloped land on the east side of the 865-acre property. The Fountains Country Club community is bordered by Lake Worth Road on the north and Lantana Road on the south.

Members approved the sale in a vote this month.

GL Homes plans to build between 150 to 200 single-family homes. GL also will build between 250 to 300 apartments, marking the first time the Sunrise-based home builder has entered the apartment market, according to Larry Portnoy, GL Homes vice president.

Fountains board of directors president Paul Napieralski hailed the sale. He said it will allow the club to make needed upgrades so it can “once again become one of the premier clubs in Palm Beach County.”

As part of the deal, the Fountains must build a $2.5 million resort-style pool.

The sale is a way for the club to also cope with declining membership during the past five years, Napieralski had said in a letter to club members.

Not all residents of the community were on board with the plan, however. Some opposed the sale as a short-term fix to a long-term problem, which they say is mandatory membership in the country club.

Residents of the new GL Homes will not be required to join the country club as equity members, as residents in some older Fountains communities have been required to do. Mandatory club membership is an added expense that figures into the price of a home. That can depress home prices and limit the pool of interested buyers, real estate experts say.

At the Fountains, equity membership ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, plus dues of about $10,000 for a couple, as well as other charges. Residents who live in some of the Fountains’ 19 homeowners associations that require club membership must pay the costs whether they use the club or not.

The issue has split the community and even resulted in lawsuits.

Golf clubs have been dealing with declining membership for years. The problem is particularly acute in Palm Beach County, with its plethora of clubs.

Portnoy has said it will take about a year to get county approvals to build on the land, and then another year to build. New homes could be ready by 2018. Prices are expected to range from $400,000 to $600,000.

Apartment rental rates have not yet been set. Apartment dwellers would not have access to the club but would instead have their own amenities.


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