A Boynton Beach drug treatment center has paid $3.3 million for the 1.6-acre campus that was home to Gratitude House, a West Palm Beach drug treatment center that welcomed poor and pregnant addicts and their newborns for nearly 50 years.
According to court records, 1700 Dixie LLC — a company owned by Denis Holmes, CEO of Beachway Therapy in Boynton Beach — bought the property on Feb. 23.
Holmes said Thursday he intends to operate a for-profit, resort-style drug and alcohol treatment center on the Gratitude House site with between 35-40 beds. Holmes hopes to have the new treatment facility operating within a year. Some scholarship beds will be available for uninsured addicts and alcoholics, he said.
Holmes founded Beachway Therapy Center in 2011. He also owns First Step Detox at 2901 Broadway in West Palm Beach, about a mile north of the Gratitude House campus.
Gratitude House closed quickly and quietly in June 2017 amid an unprecedented drug epidemic and a staggering surge in the number of babies born addicted to drugs. Residents were told simply that mold had been found in the dormitory, and that they would have to leave. Gratitude House’s website offered no explanation. Donors were told nothing. The campus was put up for sale.
A Palm Beach Post investigation found that a festering conflict of interest doomed the beloved nonprofit after board members, their relatives and friends bought a dilapidated apartment building nearby for aftercare and saddled Gratitude House with rent, taxes, insurance and repairs and other expenses. Bickering between board members, shoddy record-keeping, poor management and clinical leadership cited by a state licensing agency ended the non-profit’s mission of providing treatment to women alcoholics and addicts.