Lofts at Lake Worth apartment complex to be built on country club’s closed golf course

Article Courtesy of  The Palm Beach Post

By Mike Diamond

Published July 18, 2019


The Lofts at Lake Worth development represents the latest in a series of golf-course conversions in the county.

The closed northern nine-hole golf course at the Fountains Country Club west of Lake Worth Beach will soon become the site of a 318-unit apartment complex.

Palm Beach County Commissioners unanimously approved the Lofts at Lake Worth development at a meeting on June 27 after the builder agreed to 33 conditions to minimize adverse impacts that may occur during construction.

The remaining nine holes of the northern course are currently in operation and another full 18-hole course is available to club members on the southern portion of the property.

Commissioner Gregg Weiss said “golf-course conversions are always a challenge.” He added he was pleased that the developer and the homeowners were able to work together to address issues that needed to be resolved. The developer and Weiss met separately with homeowners at town halls to explain the project.

The Lofts at Lake Worth represents the latest in a series of golf-course conversions in Palm Beach County as a number of country clubs have found it too costly to operate golf courses. Last year, the homeowners at Fountains sold their country club and golf courses to California-based Concert Properties LLC as a way to end mandatory memberships. The issue had become divisive as homeowners did not want to pay costly membership fees.

A new 18th tee is being added to the West Course at the Fountains Country Club in Lake Worth.

The nine-hole course at Fountains closed about a year ago. Concert argued it was better to develop the property than to allow it to remain in a state of disrepair, which could result in “pest and rodent problems and security issues” that would negatively impact property values.

Arsenic has been detected on the golf course. Further testing will be done to determine the level of contamination. If necessary, the builder will have to remove the arsenic under the direction of the Department of Environmental Protection. The remnants of arsenic-containing herbicides are often detected at older golf courses that once used them for weed control. Concert developed a dust-control plan to monitor the level of dust during construction. If it exceeds a safe level, construction will stop.

Concert is working with Ridgewood Real Estate Partners, a New Jersey-based developer that specializes in golf-course conversions. Its president, Jonathon Grebow, said that a builder has not yet been chosen to construct the apartments. The decision may be a year away, he added.

The Fountains Condominium Operations consists of 19 different condominium associations at Fountains. The FCO asked Concert to allow its own environmental consultant to measure the arsenic levels, but Concert refused the request. Concert agreed to build a 25-foot buffer strip, a 3-foot-high continuous berm and a 6-foot-high, vinyl-coated chain link fence with a 6-foot-high hedge to be planted on the exterior side of the fence.

Jack Rice, lawyer for the FCO, said the homeowners are satisfied that the dust-control plan will reduce migration of dust from the site. He noted FCO will monitor the amounts of dust that may migrate onto its property. Rice said Commissioner Weiss was helpful in “facilitating the dialogue” between the builder, the county and FCO to address homeowners’ concerns.

The 63-acre site is on the west side of Jog Road between Lake Worth Road and Melaleuca Lane. The 318 apartments will be housed in 14 three-story apartment buildings with 20 to 24 units in each building. They will be clustered onto a 27.3-acre section. Access will be from Jog Road. The project will not connect to the existing roadway system at Fountains. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

According to a traffic study, the development will generate 2,115 net daily trips and 160 two-way trips will occur during the morning peak hour and 197 during the evening peak hour. This will only add to the congestion on Jog Road.

Concert has been negotiating with developers to build on parts of the golf course. In March, GL Homes acquired a 46-acre parcel of land in a different section of the Fountains for $12 million. GL has not yet released plans for what it intends to do, but it is expected to develop the property.

And Concert itself plans on building another 70 townhomes at Fountains in a separate development called Lake Worth Crossing. It is located on a nine-acre tract of land near the Lofts at Lake Worth with access off Lake Worth Road. Final approvals have not yet been obtained.