- By Lulu Ramadan Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
BOCA RATON — The community will have a chance to share thoughts and ideas for a public golf course, school and possible hotel planned in northeast Boca Raton.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, a taxing body separate from the city, is in the midst of buying, renovating and re-opening Ocean Breeze Golf Club, a 200-acre course on Northwest Second Avenue near Yamato Road, for $24 million. It will be re-branded Boca Raton National Golf Club.
The district board will pick a firm to design the course from 15 proposers, some of which are associated with golf pros such as Tom Lehman and Greg Norman.
The course design and construction could cost as much as $18 million.
Three meetings will be held to interview and choose the architect, on Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m., the district announced Tuesday.
Residents can sit in on those interviews, and will have a chance to offer input at a later date.
Once renovated, the dilapidated golf course, near the Boca Teeca condominium community, may include a private on-site learning center, hotel or community center.
“Of course we’re going to get public input once the architect is chosen,” district Commissioner Erin Wright said.
Residents of Boca Raton and suburban areas within the beach and park district’s boundaries will have discounted rates and tee time preferences.
The golf deal is pressing forward after an apparent snag this month when the district and the city council disagreed on some of the specifics of the deal. The park district needs the city to get a loan on behalf of the district to buy part of the golf course. The partnership gives the city council a chance at input on the golf course deal.
The biggest concern of both parties was the employment of Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course workers. The city recently sold the municipal golf course, on Glades Road west of Florida’s Turnpike, for $65 million to developer GL Homes. The course will close by June 2019.
But the city wants to retain the 15 full-time employees of the municipal course, and reassign them to Boca Raton National Golf Club once it opens.
The district worried about incurring a cost it was not prepared to handle, said Chairman Robert Rollins. Both the city and the district agreed to try their best to keep most employees on board.
These firms are in the running to design the new golf club:
Arnold Palmer Design Company
Dusenberry Golf Course Design, LLC
Hills & Forrest
Jan Bel Jan
Kipp Schultes Golf Design
Lehman Design Group
McCumber-Wright Venture, LLC
Price / Fazio II Design Team
Rees Jones, Inc.
Richard Mandell Golf Architecture
Robert Trent Jones