DELRAY BEACH — Delray Beach’s nearly 100-year-old golf course is about to get a major facelift, and developers are salivating at the opportunity to build on a prime stretch of course along Atlantic Avenue.
The city’s old golf club needs $10 million to $15 million in repairs, so Delray Beach is offering 6 acres of the property to a developer in exchange for fixing up the course.
And based on the first proposals, the developers have great ideas for the course. One plan would call for the construction of 420 luxury apartments along Atlantic Avenue, while another would add more than 300 apartments and a 128-room Springhill Suites by Marriott.
The city has already terminated the proposals due to conflicts of interest, but the offers paint a picture of how developers envision the 6-acre prime-available property, which is a rarity in Delray Beach.
More than 98% of the city is already built on, according to city documents, making it difficult for developers to amass large tracts of land for housing developments. Since the start of the pandemic, Delray Beach has been a hot spot for luxury development with flocks of wealthy outsiders migrating to South Florida in search of the sunny weather and popular nightlife.
As in the region, the city faces a general housing shortage, making houses or apartments a likely possibility for golf course land.
A proposal would have resulted in Phillips Development building 420 luxury apartments with 3-, 2-, and 1-bedroom units. Twenty percent of the project, 84 units, would have been earmarked for worker housing.
In the 77-page proposal, Phillips Development said the repairs to the course would make it a “nationally known, world-class golf experience that makes a significant contribution to the city and community.”
The second proposal called for 312 apartments with a mix of studio, 3-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 1-bedroom apartments, starting at $1,200 a month. Noting the shortage of affordable housing, Capital Group Developments said having a mixed-income apartment “would help attract employers to Delray Beach and provide opportunities for local residents to find quality affordable housing” while offering a “friendly environment.” to live, work and play. ”
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The five-story hotel would have included restaurants and a 4,000-square-foot event center that offers live entertainment, including a 4,000-square-foot event center that could “host a number of shows ranging from dinner plays to competitions.” chefs, live events, music shows, performing arts performances, including state-of-the-art holographic shows from famous artists.”
Regardless of the developer, the 18-hole course will remain open to the public once repairs are complete.
Built in 1926, Delray Beach Golf Club has provided public access to links for nearly a century at its course at 2200 Highland Ave. But the course has seen a lot of wear and tear over the years. Sharon Painter, who oversees the club, told commissioners last year that the course is past its useful life.
Among the issues that need to be addressed is the replacement of the drainage pipes that run under the field. That would mean breaking up parts of the field to make repairs. City officials say other golf course repairs and improvements to restrooms, maintenance facilities and parking lots are also needed.
The city began discussing the idea of having an outside developer finance the repairs last year, leading to a couple of unsolicited offers for the land. The proposals were rejected due to conflicts of interest with members of the design team, not because of anything specific regarding the plans, according to public records.
In April, city commissioners unanimously approved hiring an outside real estate firm, CBRE, to begin soliciting bids for the land. The city hopes to have a developer selected by the end of the year.
It is not clear if the developers will resubmit their offers. A CBRE representative could not be reached for comment.