Chip Abele and Ari Pearl win bid to redevelop city-owned golf course in Hollywood 

Plan is to add 175-room hotel and 750 apartments on part of the 245-acre Orangebrook Golf & Country Club

Ari Pearl and Chip Abele; aerial view of Orangebrook golf course (PPG, Getty, City of Hollywood/CBRE)
Ari Pearl and Chip Abele; aerial view of Orangebrook golf course (PPG, Getty, City of Hollywood/CBRE)

Developers Chip Abele and Ari Pearl won a bidding contest to redevelop a city-owned golf course in Hollywood, with plans to add a 175-room hotel and 750 apartments on part of the 245-acre property.

The Hollywood City Commission on Wednesday directed city staff to negotiate an agreement with companies controlled by Abele and Pearl for the redevelopment of Orangebrook Golf & Country Club, with the help of well known golf course designer Rees Jones. The property is just west of I-95 between Pembroke Road and Hollywood Boulevard,

Abele and Pearl plan to upgrade the course and lease about 5 acres of the property for construction of a 175-room Accor hotel and three high-rise apartment buildings with 250 units each. Abele said via email that the buildings will be 25 stories each, and Pearl said via email that they will be 300 feet tall. The apartment buildings and the hotel would be on the south side of Orangebrook along Pembroke Road.

Availability of 100 of the 750 apartments would be limited to tenants with 80 percent to 120 percent of area median income.

“This to me is the most important thing here,” said Hollywood Vice Mayor Adam Gruber at the commission meeting on Wednesday. “We have an affordable housing crisis.”

Planned improvements to Orangebrook might attract a tournament on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tour, Jones told city commissioners. “The PGA would come here if we had a sponsor,” Jones said. But “we’re really building this for the people of Hollywood. This is not really being built for a [PGA] tournament … Everybody from the beginner to the most proficient golfer is going to have an enjoyable challenge on this golf course.”

The city commission voted to rank the proposal by Abele and Pearl ahead of two other proposals to redevelop Orangebrook. Abele and Pearl’s development team includes architect Kobi Karp, engineering firm Ayden Environmental, construction managers GT McDonald and QGS, and golf course operator ClubCorp.

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In a 4-3 vote, Hollywood commissioners ranked the Orangebrook proposal first by Abele’s GCF Development LLC and Pearl’s PPG Development LLC. Ranked second was a proposal by E2L Real Estate Solutions, and ranked third was a proposal by the Ernie Els Group, whose namesake is a professional golfer in South Africa. A fourth bidder, Green Lynx LLC, withdrew its proposal to redevelop Orangebrook prior to the commission meeting.

Abele and Pearl’s project would generate $152 million in revenue for the city over 30 years, compared to $171 million from the Ernie Els Group, $109 million from E2L, and $95 million from Green Lynx, said Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy.

In March 2019, Hollywood voters approved a municipal bond issue and an allocation of about $25 million of the bond money to redevelop Orangebrook, a 36-hole golf course that opened in 1933.

“It’s gone from a nice golf course to a not-so-nice golf course,” said Sylvia Berman, one of many Hollywood residents who spoke publicly at the commission meeting on Wednesday.

In July 2020, Green Lynx made an unsolicited proposal to the city to redevelop Orangebrook and to use bond money to fund the project. About seven months later, the city commission authorized city staff to solicit other proposals to redevelop the municipal golf course through a public-private partnership.

All bidders except Green Lynx said they would redevelop the Orangebrook course at no cost to the city, share income from golf course operations with the city, and build both residences and a hotel on part of the property.

Hollywood City Attorney Douglas R. Gonzalez told the commission that the bond money allocation of about $25 million for Orangebrook could be used for other “park-like” projects in the city.