In recent months, the city has been looking to WPB residents to give their opinions on the future of 8111 S. Dixie Hwy, the Palm Coast Plaza, and the West Palm Beach Municipal Golf Course.
Among the ideas proposed by the City were to shrink the Municipal Golf Course to a Par-3 course or to a 9-hole course and develop the land as residential property.
In a September 8 city commission workshop, Natasha Alonso, Director of urban design and planning for consultant group Redevelopment Management Associates, said that residents made it clear they wanted the course to remain 18 holes and have a clubhouse that would “make it more than a golf course — a true gathering place.” They were also pushing for more trees, better entrance approaches and more of a connection with the surrounding community.
RMA heard what the public had to say- kind of. While all the options they presented left the course with 18 holes, three of the four proposals would shorten the course from slightly to significantly.
The Palm Beach Post described the four scenarios from RMA (which range from an estimated $5.9 million to $19.5 million) as follows:
Described as requiring the “least invention,” would redesign entries on the north and southeast of the course; add 16 townhomes near Forest Hill; improve landscaping, shading; add bike paths; and redesign the canal waterfront to have more of a connection with the course, which would remain a 72-par, 7,000-yard regulation/championship course. The negatives: it doesn’t maximize waterfront potential, and since it offers little opportunity for private residential development the project would solely rely on public money. Estimated price: $5,933,3766.
Introduces a road that rings the course; puts a clubhouse on the south central part of the course, near the water; also has 16 townhomes but adds 218 residential units around the course at a variety of prices; adds heavy landscaping, a perimeter path, promenade, fishing pier, kayak-launch area and a connection to the Dreher Park bike trail. The downside: shifting the clubhouse to the south and adding housing means reconfiguring and shortening the course to a par-62, 4,775-yard executive course. Price: $12,908,156.
Has entries in the north and southeast; adds a road that rings the course and another that goes through the middle, with 225 houses there and 18 townhouses in the north. The course is reduced to a par-63, at 5,170 yards. The site connects to Dreher Park trail. Southeastern placement of the clubhouse brings opportunity for a connection with the city’s 8111 S. Dixie Hwy. property and “under-bridge connections to really activate that waterfront,” consultant Natasha Alfonso says. Waterfront would include a kayak launch, pavilions, fishing pier, possibly a small restaurant and dock at the clubhouse. Cost: $12,319,815.
A marriage of the least-intense and most-intense development scenarios. It contemplates apartment buildings three to six stories tall with 250 units on the east side of the course. The course is left at almost its existing size, with no ring road or central road. The canal would be dredged to make room for 33 houses surrounded by water. The clubhouse would be in the south central section of the waterfront, with a public marina. The trade-off: Most if not all the golf course size would remain but the mid-rise condos would add height and density. Price: $19,493,512, a number elevated by the cost of dredging and sea walls.
Other key points that came out of the workshop:
- The course is not for sale. Mayor Jeri Muoio once again asserted that the City has no plans to sell the golf course.
- Commissioner Shanon Materio revealed her preferences. Materio, whose district encompasses the golf course, said she preferred Scenarios 1 and 4 as they left the course intact as a full-sized championship course and are the most do-able for potential developers. She also stated that she does not oppose putting houses around the course or scenarios that would put housing on Mary Brandon Park.
- The next step. According to Muoio, the city is looking for redevelopment partners and will present options in meetings with the public soon.
This project is far from over…or even getting started…stay tuned for more…