The Real Deal Miami

West Palm golf course to become resort/housing

Developer said he will use existing approvals

September 01, 2015 09:45AM
By Sean Stewart-Muniz

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A site plan for the Banyan Cay Resort & Golf Club and Sam Bauer, who is heading the project

A site plan for the Banyan Cay Resort & Golf Club and Sam Bauer, who is heading the project

Hot on the heels of its $26 million acquisition of a massive golf-course-turned development site in West Palm Beach, the Banyan Cay Dev. company has announced more details about the $280 million project it will be undertaking.

The President Country Club, a 240-acre property split into two golf courses, had been eyed as a major redevelopment opportunity for years by its most recent owner. George T. Elmore, founder of the Hardrive development and construction firm, had paid $11 million for the property in 2011 through his company Palm Tree Golf Management.

Reports say the company began pursuing approvals for a redevelopment on the country club site a year after the purchase, and city commissioners had even granted final approvals for site plans that aimed to turn the property into a resort-style community in March.

Those plans included a hotel, 145 single-family homes, a 20-story condo tower with 200 units and a newly built clubhouse. All of this would be constructed on the country club’s 119-acre northern golf course, which has been closed for some time.

But last week, Elmore’s company traded away the country club to a company titled Banyan Cay Dev., headed by veteran multifamily developer Sam Bauer.

Bauer told The Real Deal that he had actually been solicited by the seller in the past to buy only a portion of the site. But Bauer and his team, desiring a greater stake in the development, sought to purchase the entire site.

We realized what a unique and special opportunity this was,” Bauer told TRD. “We decided to take on the entire project; we wanted to control its destiny.” 

That begins with changing the project’s name to the Banyan Cay Resort & Golf Club. Besides building the project out within its current approvals, Bauer said his team is finalizing a deal to bring in a national brand to manage the planned hotel, and renovations for the club’s southern golf course — designed by Robert Trent Jones II — are already underway.

It has a fantastic structure; all we have to do to it is really cosmetic,” he said. “Not much has to be done to it to bring it up to a world class resort.”

All together, Bauer said the project will take place over the next five years.