JUST IN: County trying to keep PGA from moving, business board leader says

The PGA of America’s possible move from Palm Beach Gardens to Frisco, Texas is not a done deal, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is working hard to keep them here, BDB CEO and President Kelly Smallridge said Thursday. 

The PGA of America – whose proper name is the Professional Golf Association of America – has been in Palm Beach Gardens since 1965 and has helped establish Palm Beach County as one of the nation’s top golfing locales.

>>RELATED: PGA of America poised to move from Gardens 

Thursday morning the group issued a statement that said only, “last year we issued a request for proposals to a number of markets that are potentially well-suited and interested in developing a new headquarters campus for us. The due diligence phase is ongoing, and no decisions have been made.” 

Various reports indicate the PGA of America is poised to move to Texas.

On Thursday morning, Smallridge said, she read a story on a golf news webpage that suggested the move was a done deal. She said  PGA of America officials contacted her and said the move is not a sure thing. They asked her to keep working to find a new location in Palm Beach County. 

Smallridge said that about nine months ago she received a phone call from a consultant the PGA of America hired asking her to find a new location with more space for them. They occupy about 60,000 square feet in the PGA National complex west of Florida’s Turnpike. 

“Their space is old and they are outgrowing it. They wanted to create additional jobs. The BDB went out and we did a dynamite job,” Smallridge said. “We showed them various options in various cities. We pursued five to seven different sites.”

Smallridge said the 210-employee group was offered a “very nice package,” but she cannot reveal the details. 

“I can say that honestly we can stand on two legs in good faith that we put forward the best possible package to win this deal for Palm Beach County. How could you have a better offer that is going to cover the cost of moving those employees?” Smallridge said. 

Smallridge said that in December PGA officials told her another site was in play. 

“I had heard rumors it was Texas. That is our biggest competition. We continued to keep our nose to the ground and continued to do our due diligence,” Smallridge said. 

Smallridge said Palm Beach County is at a disadvantage because she can offer incentives only for new jobs, not existing jobs. The PGA wants to create 30 to 50 new jobs. 

If the organization does move to Texas, it would be a huge loss to Palm Beach County, she said. 

“We are working very hard to keep them here. We have put forth several offers in several cities,” Smallridge said.

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