Builder struggles to win design approvals for two planned Palm Beach homes

Mark Pulte is expected to propose his third revision of one house design and his sixth revision of another later this month

Mark Pulte and 446 North Lake Way
Mark Pulte and 446 North Lake Way

Developer and luxury home builder Mark Pulte is struggling to win the town’s approval for designs of two houses he plans to build on waterfront sites in Palm Beach.

The town’s Architectural Commission twice has rejected the design Pulte proposed for a house he plans to build at 535 North County Road, and the commission has rejected his proposed design for a house at 446 North Lake Way five times.

Members of the commission have asked Pulte for a major revision of his proposed house design on North Lake Way since they first considered the first version in June of last year. Commissioners have complained that the proposed house is too large for the lot, which is about one acre, and the  contemporary design is too stark.

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At the Feb. 28 meeting of the Architectural Commission, its chairman, Richard Sammon, said a revised design for the planned house on North Lake Way is moving in “the right direction” but still too large. The commissioners voted unanimously to review further revisions to the design at their March 28 meeting.

Pulte also encountered resistance to a revised house design for a two-acre lot at 535 North County Road, which he bought for $37 million in October from Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who carved the lot out of a larger estate he bought from President Donald Trump in 2008.

Bill Boyle, an architect working for Pulte, reduced the size of the proposed house on North County Road by 1,859 square feet and tried to make the design “warmer” by adding such materials as shell stone and mahogany to the design.

But Ann Vanneck, vice chairwoman of the Architectural Commission, said the proposed design of the house was inappropriate and resembled the look of a hotel. Another commissioner, Robert Garrison, complained that the proposed design would make “this thing … enormous.” The Architectural Commission voted 4-3 to review the house design at its meeting later this month. [Palm Beach Daily News] – Mike Seemuth