Boca Raton Resort & Club Timeline

 

7960322655?profile=originalIn 1967, Arvida tears down part of the original
Cloister to build the tower. It is the tallest structure
between Tallahassee and Miami at the time.

Photo courtesy of the Boca Raton Resort & Club

 

 

1925:  Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner arrives in Boca Raton.  He and his Development Corp. hope to build Mediterranean-style structures for commercial and residential use on a 1,600-acre tract of land. Their plans include a never-built Ritz-Carlton on the beach.

1926: In a hurry to bring customers for his development to Boca Raton, Mizner opens a smaller hotel, the Cloister Inn. It’s under Ritz-Carlton management on the shore of Lake Boca Raton.  The opening sparks a promotional buildup that ultimately changes Boca Raton from a sleepy village into a resort community.

The inn has Spanish-Mediterranean, Moorish and Gothic influences. It is characterized by hidden gardens, barrel-tile roofs, archways, ornate columns, finials, intricate mosaics, fountains and beamed ceilings of ornate pecky cypress. The per room building cost was $10,000. 

1927: The land boom ends in Florida leaving Mizner’s Development Corp. in financial difficulty. Philadelphia utilities magnate Clarence Geist buys the Cloister Inn for $71,000, assuming $7 million of the Mizner Development Corp.’s debt.

1928-1930: Geist enlarges the Cloister Inn and creates the private Boca Raton Club, a golf club.  He builds the Cabana Club, south of the inlet, offering 200 private beach cabanas, informal dining rooms and card lounges. Famed architects Schultze & Weaver, who also designed the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and The Breakers in Palm Beach, were the architects for the project that opened in January1930.

1942: The U.S. enters WWII. Boca Raton’s airport and coastal locale make it ideal for an Army airbase. The U.S. government acquires 5,860 acres from more than 100 property owners to construct it.  

Meanwhile, the Army takes over the Boca Raton Club for offices, classrooms and officers’ barracks while it builds the air station, the country’s only radar training school.   

1944: J. Myer Schine buys the Boca Raton Club and the Spanish River Land Co. from Geist’s estate. The hotel costs $3 million.

1945: The property reopens as the Boca Raton Hotel & Club. 

About 1950: The hotel is painted pink for the first time. In Mizner’s time, the club appears to have been white and cream-colored.  It apparently was Schine’s wife, Hildegarde, who liked the deep dusty rose color. The current color is much pinker than the 1950s color. 

1956: Arthur Vining Davis, founder of the Aluminum Co. of America, purchases the Boca Raton Hotel & Club. He creates Arvida Development Corp., an acronym of his name.

1967: Arvida tears down the southeastern wing of the original Cloister Inn to build the 27-floor tower that holds 257 rooms and a restaurant on top. When built, it is the tallest structure between Tallahassee and Miami.

1968: Arvida opens the Great Hall, a convention center, which incorporates the structure of the Schultze  & Weaver-designed outdoor swimming pool with its four corner towers. 

1980: The Boca Beach Club on the beach replaces the old Cabana Club, which is demolished. The new club costs $20 million and features a half-mile of private beach, two swimming pools, 214 rooms (including eight suites) and two restaurants.

1983: The Boca Raton Hotel & Club is sold to Boca Raton Hotel and Club Limited Partnership with VMS Realty Corp., a Chicago-based real estate developer, installed as the general partner for the limited partnership. 

1986: The property becomes known as the Boca Raton Resort & Club, and acquires the Boca Country Club about seven miles away. 

1991: The Boca Raton Resort & Club undergoes an $11 million renovation.

1993: The Boca Raton Management Co. replaces VMS Realty Corp. as general partner for the Boca Raton Resort & Club Limited Partnership. In October, BRMC successfully completes the refinancing of $150 million of indebtedness.

1996: The Boca Raton Resort & Club completes a $165 million recapitalization. The resort renovates guest rooms and suites in the Cloister and Tower. Construction begins on the Mizner Center, a $40 million meeting and catering facility.

1997: The Boca Raton Resort & Club is purchased by H. Wayne Huizenga and Florida Panthers Holdings, Inc. (now Boca Resorts Inc., or BRI) for $325 million. The Resort & Club completes a $6.5 million redesign of the resort golf course done by Gene Bates. The $10 million tennis and fitness center opens.

1998: The Boca Raton Resort & Club opens the Mizner Center, a meeting and conference facility designed to resemble the original Mizner design. 

2001: The Boca Raton Resort & Club celebrates its 75th anniversary and unveils Spa Palazzo, modeled on the Alhambra Palace, a two-story golf clubhouse and the Grand Piazza, including the Tuscan restaurant Lucca (run by Drew Nieporent of New York’s Nobu and Tribecca Grill), Bar Luna, the renovated Malone’s Magic Bar and more. 

2004: An affiliate of the Blackstone Group, a private investment banking firm, purchases BRI in December for $1.25 billion. 

2005: The name of BRI is changed to LXR Luxury Resorts.

2005-2006: Refurbishment of the resort begins, including renovation of the main lobby, redesign of guest rooms and the addition of the Old Homestead Steak House (well known to New Yorkers). The new décor includes a light beige and white ceiling in the lobby, slate and stone floors and white leather furniture. 

2007-2008: The opening of Cielo Restaurant at the top of the Tower, the debut of the Palm Court, the addition of Morimoto’s Sushi Bar by chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame, Serendipity Restaurant and the redesign of the Family Room.

2009: The 212-room Boca Beach Club reopens following a $120 million renovation that coincides with the completion of a total of more than $220 million in renovations at the Resort & Club.

2011: The Boca Raton Resort & Club celebrates its 85th anniversary.

Sources: the Boca Raton Resort & Club website; The Boca Raton Resort & Club — Mizner’s Inn, (The History Press, 2008) by Donald Curl; Boca Raton Historical Society curator Susan Gillis; BRHS docent Natalie Warren. 

— Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley  


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in MANALAPAN
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BOCA RATON
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
More…