Homes, links to area and water among options for WPB golf course


Ever since West Palm Beach razed the post-War Era clubhouse of its municipal golf course a year ago, residents have waited for news and grimaced at rumors of how the city might reconfigure one of the south end’s most beloved features.

Now they have the beginnings of an answer.

At a city commission workshop Sept. 8, consultants from Redevelopment Management Associates laid out possibilities ranging from sprucing up the 196-acre championship course with new entrance ways and a few amenities to shrinking the course to add hundreds of homes and condos, bike trails, a waterfront clubhouse, fishing pier and kayak-launch area.

The price tags — to be shared by residential developers who partner with the city — range from an estimated $5.9 million to $19.5 million to redo the course, which runs from south of Forest Hill Boulevard to the C-51 Canal, just east of I-95.

Natasha Alonso, RMA’s director of urban design and planning, said residents in a March charette and other meetings made it clear they wanted the course to remain at 18 holes, with a clubhouse that would “make it more than a golf course — a true gathering place.”

They wanted the grounds to look better, with more trees. The course needed better entrance approaches and more of a connection with the surrounding communities, residents told the consultants.

The city also directed the consultant to look for ways to link the course with the city-owned shopping center property at 8111 S. Dixie Highway and the Palm Coast Plaza just north of it, and to coordinate all three in a way that enhanced the south end.

The challenge, RMA economic development director Kevin Crowder said, is that a market study indicates the area doesn’t generate enough economic activity to support major commercial redevelopment. But he added, “the market analysis just tells you where you’ve been.”

Different developers take different approaches in deciding whether to enter a market, he said. Some go strictly by current numbers but others look at a location and say, “What can I add to make it work?” he said.

He related an example told by Miami developer Jorge Perez of The Related Group of Florida at a conference a year ago. Perez said that when planning one project, he didn’t have a market study that told him 10,000 Brazilians would buy $1 million condos in downtown Miami, but he knew how to execute a project so that they would.

The message: Smart redevelopment can enhance the area and catalyze the commercial market, he said.

The golf course options all leave the course at 18 holes, but three of the four alternatives would shorten the course, from slightly to significantly.

It’s a matter of the city and its residents deciding what trade-offs they accept, Alfonso said.

The options presented, she cautioned, “are just capacity studies to help us understand what fits and what doesn’t.”

The city commission, by general consensus, authorized Economic Development Director Chris Roog to continue pursuing redevelopment plans for the 8111 S. Dixie property and the golf course. The commission also indicated its willingness to work with the adjacent Palm Coast Plaza owners in coordinating redevelopment plans.

Mayor Jeri Muoio asserted, as she has in the past, that despite rumors to the contrary the city is not selling the golf course. “We’re looking for redevelopment partners,” she said. She added that the city would present the options in meetings with the public soon.

Commissioner Shanon Materio, whose district includes the course, said afterward that she favored the two options that leave the course intact, as a full-sized, championship course, if no water features are placed inside the course.

Those options, scenarios 1 and 4, “are more than just palatable, they’re the most do-able for a developer that may be interested,” she said.

She also said she did not oppose putting homes around the course, as long as they’re not in the middle of the course. “We have to build up the quality of the housing in the south end,” she said.

She added that she did not oppose scenarios that would place housing on the site of Mary Brandon Park, which is on the northeast corner of the course, because the park is little-used and the scenarios would replace that park land with waterfront park space on the south.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

JUST IN: ‘The care they gave’: How EMS saved 77-year-old man after car struck bike
JUST IN: ‘The care they gave’: How EMS saved 77-year-old man after car struck bike

Roy McCarty calls it a blessing not that he was hit by a car, but where. The crash occurred in front of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Station No. 42. The 77-year-old was out for a bike ride at 5 a.m. March 6 when he was struck by a driver who had fallen asleep. Crews at Station 42 were able to stabilize McCarty before another truck returned to take...
Dramatic Miami-Dade police video shows shootout at Trump Doral resort
Dramatic Miami-Dade police video shows shootout at Trump Doral resort

The Miami-Dade Police Department has released dramatic body-cam video from an officer who rushed into the lobby of the Trump Doral resort during a shootout with an armed man at 1:39 a.m. on May 18. Police identified the shooter as Jonathan Oddi, 42. Four days later, a motive for the bizarre incident has not been revealed. The video begins with...
WATCH: Florida man puts ex-girlfriend in trunk, leads deputies on 120 mph chase
WATCH: Florida man puts ex-girlfriend in trunk, leads deputies on 120 mph chase

A man was arrested after deputies said he punched his ex-girlfriend, put her in the trunk of a car, and then lead authorities on a 120 mph chase. The incident began Monday night in DeLand when Darrian Miller, 42, demanded his ex-girlfriend to drive him somewhere, WKMG reports. She complied, but after arriving at a food market Miller told her to...
West Palm green-lights all-options-open plan for transportation future
West Palm green-lights all-options-open plan for transportation future

The city has adopted an outline for a transportation future that puts trolley and bus riders, bicyclists and walkers on a more even footing with cars. In unanimously approving the mobility plan Monday night, the City Commission overstepped criticism the consultant-driven plan was an unrealistic and expensive road map for congestion. The mayor of Palm...
NEW: ‘No-swim’ advisory lifted for Lake Worth Beach
NEW: ‘No-swim’ advisory lifted for Lake Worth Beach

Health officials have lifted a ‘no-swim’ advisory that was issued last week for Lake Worth Beach.  Recent test results showed moderate levels of bacteria, making the water quality satisfactory, the Palm Beach County health department said Tuesday.  Swimmers are still encouraged to rinse off with fresh water after swimming...
More Stories