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More than 520 luxury homes soon will be built on a 189-acre golf course in West Boca, creating another potential hot spot for wealthy northerners looking to relocate to South Florida.
The new development, which could see prices begin at $1.3 million, is the first of a three-part plan to add more than 2,500 homes to West Boca amid a scorching housing market.
In a deal that’s been years in the making, GL Homes has assumed ownership of Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course after acquiring the property from the city of Boca Raton for $65 million. While the deal was agreed upon in 2018, the sale finally closed in November after various delays.
Now, GL Homes is “full speed ahead” on creating the new development by Glades Road and Florida’s Turnpike, which will feature between 525 to 539 homes, Vice President of Development Kevin Ratterree said.
While he didn’t give any specific information on pricing or a timeline for the project, the GL Homes website is promoting a new “Lotus” community in a “new premier location in Boca Raton” with prices beginning at $1.3 million. The initial Lotus development, which is north of Glades Road and east of Lyons Road, lists its homes between $1.1 million and $1.4 million.
As more and more people across the country flee colder states for South Florida, the housing market has struggled to keep up with the significant demand, driving up home values throughout the region.
Elliot Koolik, principal for the Koolik Group and Founding agent at Compass Boca, has been specializing in luxury homes in Boca Raton for over 30 years and said he’s “never seen a movement of people like this” in his life.
“I think they’re going to sell really quick,” Koolik said. “There’s such a pent-up demand, it’s crazy.”
“You have people living in Manhattan who were going to buy an apartment for $2 million that’s 1,200 square feet or more. And now they can buy a home that’s 4,000 square feet with a three-car garage and it’s equal or less money and they can work [remotely] from here. It’s increased that demand for people who could come to Florida and that’s who [homebuilders] are catering to.”
While the demand has soared in the past two years, Koolik said interest in new luxury properties remained high even before the pandemic.
He pointed to the first Lotus, which opened in 2019, saying the community was holding lotteries to buy houses because there were so many interested homeowners and that “people were waiting in line like a rock concert.”
In the past 15 years, more than 1,600 18-hole courses have closed, according to the National Golf Foundation in Jupiter. In Delray Beach, developers are planning to turn a shuttered course into a 79-home gated community.
Many more homes on the way
GL Homes, which specializes in luxury homes and 55-and-over communities, is seeking approval on two additional projects that could add more than 1,900 homes to West Boca.
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The first project would add more than 1,250 homes north on farmland north of Clint Moore Road and west of State Road 7. Additionally, the developer is planning to add 679 homes near Glades Road, in between State Road 7 and Lyons Road.
Both projects will go before Palm Beach County Commissioners later this year.
While the homes will help lessen housing demand, they will likely bring additional traffic concerns, said Ellen Winikoff, vice president of the West Boca Community Council, an organization that represents hundreds of homeowners associations across the region.
Winifoff said traffic routinely backs up around Glades Road by the Turnpike exit and that “adding 500 more homes there and the requisite number of trips that may entail will add to that congestion.”
“I recognize and welcome new people to our area, and they should enjoy all that we have to offer, but it does create a burden on congestion,” Winikoff said.
She said they’re pushing for the state to add another Turnpike exit by Palmetto Park Road to help alleviate traffic. A spokeswoman for Florida’s Turnpike did not respond to questions from the South Florida Sun Sentinel about any potential changes.