By Steve Plunkett
The city and the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District were poised to take ownership of the Boca Teeca golf course as soon as $19 million from the sale of municipal bonds came through. The deal was expected to close March 1.
Beach and park commissioners also hired Pro Links Sports, the company that managed the Boca Raton Championship in February, to help them rank the 15 firms that want to design the new course.
Commissioners sat through seven-plus hours of presentations from the design firms over three days in late January and February.
“The next project that we have, however, is selecting a design architect and that … from my observation of these presentations, is going to be a monumental task for commissioners,” said Arthur Koski, the district’s executive director. Commissioners also reopened their request for proposals to see if any other golf course architects are interested.
The district will pay Pro Links $12,000 a month for its consulting services. Eddie Carbone, tournament director of the Boca Raton Championship, will be the point man for the Boca Teeca guidance along with Pro Links’ chief executive, Hollis Cavner.
Commissioner Susan Vogelgesang, who dealt directly with Cavner and Carbone at the championship, said both men are “very reasonable people — they listen.”
Koski said Pro Links would work with the district at least six months and possibly as long as two years. Commissioners can cancel the consulting contract with 30 days’ notice.
“They’ve already come up with a couple of good ideas for us,” Koski said.
Carbone was instrumental in persuading the city and the district to contribute $500,000 apiece to keep this year’s tournament in Boca Raton after insurance firm Allianz SE of Germany pulled out as corporate sponsor.
But Boca Raton and the Beach & Park District both said their bailouts were one-time only. Pro Links separately is looking for another corporation to fill the sponsorship role.
For the Boca Teeca deal, the Beach & Park District planned to purchase nine holes of the course, all east of Northwest Second Avenue in the north part of the city, for $5 million cash. The city’s bond money was to pay for the 18 holes west of the road. Currently called Ocean Breeze, the course will be renamed Boca National.
The city was to take ownership of the 18 holes, then transfer title to the district after it pays off the bond issue.
At a candidate forum, Monica Mayotte and Kim Do, who are running for City Council, said part of the $65 million the city will get from the sale of its western golf course should be spent rehabilitating the Ocean Breeze purchase.
“That makes sense — golf for golf,” Mayotte said.
Boca Teeca residents started pressing the city and the Beach & Park District more than a year ago to save Ocean Breeze, fearing developer Lennar Homes LLC would plow it under and replace their golf course views with views of more condos.