By: Diane Emeott Korzen
The Board of Commissioners for the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District is in the process of selecting a golf course architect team to redesign the old Ocean Breeze Golf Course located in Boca Teeca.
The property is slated to become a 27-hole, world-class golf course by the name of “Boca National Golf Course” — once Executive Director Arthur Koski’s vision is realized.
At the first Beach & Park District meeting of the New Year on Jan. 2, Koski updated the board that closing on the golf course had been delayed [again] to Feb. 28.
Commissioner Robert Rollins asked how this latest delay would affect the District’s ability to borrow funds.
Koski estimated the design process for the new golf course would take six to seven months after selection of a design architectural team; and that it would be a 12 to 15 month process before the golf course is operational.
“18 months from this past Dec. 1  the city will be closing their golf course. We’re going to be very close to that timeframe [when the District’s new golf course is operational],” Koski said.
The city is selling the municipal golf course located outside of Boca city limits to GL Homes. The city is hoping the district retains the employees for the new course.
In the latest iteration of the deal, the district will own the property east of 2nd Ave. and the city will help secure financing for the property west of 2nd Ave.
The district will spend $5 million to purchase the east side of the course, which may house a golf school or hotel while the western portion will feature an 18 hole course. The bond will total $19 million, which the district will repay the city for.
Commissioners were encouraged to individually read through and tentatively rank each of 15 proposals received on Dec. 20 in response to the District’s Request For Proposals (RFP) for a golf course architect team – to include a golf course designer, engineer, architects and landscape architect, according to Koski.
Individual proposals became public record on Jan. 20, Koski said.
Residents can listen to interviews from interested architects during three public meetings scheduled for Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Firms vying to design the course include: Arnold Palmer Design Company, Dusenberry Golf Course Design, LLC, Greg Norman, Hills & Forrest, Jan Bel Jan, Kipp Schultes Golf Design, Lehman Design Group, McCumber-Wright Venture, LLC, Nicklaus Design, Price / Fazio II Design Team, Rees Jones, Inc., Richard Mandell Golf Architecture, Robert Trent Jones, Staples Golf and Vincent Design.
Negotiations regarding dollar amount could then begin with the top choices.
“Some of the presenters are from out of state. These are some of the top golf course architects in the country. This is the chance of a lifetime for this golf course!” Koski enthused.
One resident urged the Board not to choose the most prestigious in their architect selection. “We already have PGA National in Palm Beach [Gardens] and Doral in Miami. We need to have a reasonable fee [for local residents to play golf].
Koski said he anticipated residents of the District and the City being able to use the new golf course for a percentage of the fee charged to non-residents.
Other board business
In other Board business, Commissioner Robert Rollins was re-elected to continue as Chairman; Commissioner Steven Engel was re-elected to continue as Vice Chair; and Commissioner Craig Ehrnst was newly elected to serve as Treasurer – after being nominated by past Treasurer, Commissioner Susan Vogelgegang.