A proposed 3,250-home development off Northlake Boulevard south of the Beeline Highway received the blessing of Palm Beach Gardens officials Thursday night after three years of planning and compromise.
Palm Beach Gardens City Council voted 5-0 to give final approval to Avenir’s master plan, along with changes to accommodate the development on 4,763 acres on the city’s western edge.
Avenir will be built in phases over 20 years.
At its inception, plans called for 7,600 homes, scaled back to 4,760 homes in late 2014. At a city council meeting in January, then mayor Eric Jablin, now a councilman, announced he negotiated with the developers for 3,250 homes, 250 of which will be workforce housing.
As approved, the plan also calls for 1.94 million square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of medical offices, 400,000 square feet of commercial space, a 300-room hotel, 20 acres of agriculture, a 55-acre public park, a 60-acre civic/recreation parcel, 15 acres for a police/fire/city annex and 15 acres for a public school.
Another 2,407 acres on the north end of the property will be conservation land. The developer plans to restore wetlands, improving the flow of water to the Loxahatchee River.
Drew Martin, of the Sierra Club, complimented the project for that but said there should be firm protections in place for the conservation area in the future, in case the developers flip the property. He also said the project is too dense and brings commercial development too far west.
“I don’t think Northlake Boulevard will be able to handle this traffic,” he said.
The developers have said Avenir will help reverse traffic going east by providing shops, restaurants and employment opportunities. They will also widen a section of Northlake Boulevard from Grapeview Boulevard to the east side of Ibis.
Officials praised the developers, who were in attendance, for working with the city planning staff and listening to residents’ concerns. Resident Joan Elias called it the “final jewel in the crown of Palm Beach Gardens.”
Danny Lopez, an Avenir Holdings executive, said it will be a few years before construction starts. Attorney Steve Mathison said it will be about four years before the first homes are ready for move-in.