Lennar pays $19M for golf course near Delray Beach approved for resi community

Delray Trails is expected to be an age-restricted community

An aerial of Villa Del Ray Golf Course at 5901 Via Delray with 13th Floor Investments’ Arnaud Karsenti and Lennar’s Stuart Miller (Google, 13th Floor, Lennar)
An aerial of Villa Del Ray Golf Course at 5901 Via Delray with 13th Floor Investments’ Arnaud Karsenti and Lennar’s Stuart Miller (Google, 13th Floor, Lennar)

Homebuilder Lennar paid $19.2 million for part of a closed golf course west of Delray Beach that is approved for a residential development.

13th Floor Homes, through an affiliate, sold the portion of the course at 5901 Via Delray to Miami-based Lennar, records show. It is unclear from the deed how many acres Lennar purchased.

The former 119-acre Villa Del Ray Golf Course is on the northeast corner of El Clair Ranch and Lake Ida roads.

13th Floor became the property owner in 2020 and then obtained Palm Beach County approval for an age-restricted community, called Delray Trails, with a total of 251 townhouses and 164 single-family homes, according to the developer’s website.

Lennar will continue to follow the approved plan, but only on the part of the property it purchased, according to an emailed statement from 13th Floor.

In its statement, 13th Floor said Lennar “is well positioned to fulfill the vision established in the approved plans.” The homes are expected to be for seniors 55 and older, according to media reports.

13th Floor also cited “record shortage of single-family home inventory in the area,” adding that it will keep looking for opportunities like Delray Trails that would help alleviate the dwindling residential supply.

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13th Floor Homes is the residential arm of Arnaud Karsenti’s 13th Floor Investments, based in Coconut Grove and focused on real estate plays on behalf of individual and institutional investors, according to 13th Floor Investments’ website.

In some of its other recent ventures, 13th Floor Investments paid $18.5 million in November for six properties that include the Holiday Bowling Center & Sports Bar in Hallandale Beach, with plans to redevelop the bowling alley and eatery. Project specifics have not been released.

Lennar, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., paid $7.1 million for vacant property in Homestead in September.

Stuart Miller is the company’s executive chair, and Rick Beckwitt and Jon Jaffe are co-CEOs and co-presidents.

A single-family home shortage has been reported across markets in the U.S., partly because in 2020 many residents opted to weather the pandemic in a more spacious home, and South Florida received much of the demand. Although the redevelopment of golf courses was a trend prior to 2020, the movement seems to have accelerated in light of the supply shortage.

Last year, Jim Carr and Armando Codina’s CC Homes scored approval from the city of Sunrise to build a 900-home community at the closed Sunrise Golf & Country Club.

GL Homes plans to build a more than 550-home community on the Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course, after paying $65.7 million for the site in November.