Boca Raton After years of battling it out, the Boca Raton Resort & Club and its neighbors on the beach called a truce, a move that should allow its owner to move forward with stalled redevelopment plans.
Resort officials are seeking city permission to build and renovate their Boca Beach Club property on State Road A1A. It is something they have tried before but complaints and lawsuits from neighbors stopped the projects.
The Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday approved the latest plans, which still require City Council approval.
The plan calls for renovations of the existing hotel and club, adding 44 rooms and putting up two condo buildings on the beach. Resort officials are also seeking permission to build a 54-foot-tall building with 55 units on the lake parcel, which sits across from the beach site on the banks of Lake Boca Raton.
On the beachside, resort officials want to build an eight-story, 58-unit condo called The Point Building on the southernmost tip of the property, which ends at the Boca Raton Inlet. Resort officials call the other condo Jewel, a five-unit, 63-foot-tall building, with one unit per floor. Plans place the Jewel between the hotel and Presidential Place.
Jerry Peisach, a Presidential Place resident, praised the resort’s owners and said they made changes to accommodate neighbors. In the past, Presidential Place led the charge of complaining neighbors, suing three times to stop the resort’s plans.
“When good men truly commit to find common ground they almost always invariably can,” Peisach said. “And we did.”
Peisach said the company and condo officials recognized the battle had gone on long enough. He added that officials from the Blackstone Group, which bought the resort in 2004, were ready to listen.
Russ Flicker, president of development, said the company sat down to figure out the neighbors’ concerns. They wanted less traffic and less concrete and the resort came up with a design that addresses those concerns, he said.
In 2001, the resort’s previous owner, Wayne Huizenga’s Boca Resorts Inc., proposed building two 85-foot-high buildings that could be used for hotel rooms, condos or meeting space, and a 1,071-space parking garage. There was talk of 278 hotel rooms and 35,000 square feet of meeting space. After a public uproar, resort officials scaled back plans proposing a plan to put up 55 condominiums, a 151-room hotel and buildings set farther back from the edge of the club’s property line. Still, there was opposition.
Peisach told the board that after some initial missteps Blackstone sat down with the community and got it right.
Resort officials have put on hold plans to build another condo building on the mainland property on Camino Real, Flicker said. Residents from Royal Palm Yacht & County Club opposed those plans.