Glenn Straub sells Wellington golf course to Mark Bellissimo for $35M 

Buyer signed agreement to maintain 18-hole property as is

Glen Straub and Mark Bellissimo with the golf course at the Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club at 11199 Polo Club Rd in Wellington
Glen Straub and Mark Bellissimo with the golf course at the Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club at 11199 Polo Club Rd in Wellington (Google Maps, Getty)

In a deal involving Wellington’s two biggest developers, Mark Bellissimo paid Glenn Straub $35 million for the golf course at the Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club.

A Bellissimo affiliate purchased the 126-acre, 18-hole property at 11934 South Shore Boulevard from a Straub entity, according to records and Vizzda. The buyer and seller also entered into a land easement agreement requiring the golf course remain as is for use by members of the golf and country club. 

The price breaks down to roughly $278,000 per acre. Bellissimo also obtained $24.8 million in financing from Straub, records show. 

Straub sold the golf course as he faces a $6.8 million foreclosure judgment tied to his long running battle with the village of Wellington over unauthorized construction in Big Blue Preserve. The environmentally protected land is adjacent to the Palm Beach Polo property that the developer also owns. Wellington is considered the winter equestrian capital of the world

Bellissimo and Straub did not respond to requests for comment. 

This month, Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Joseph Curley ordered Straub to pay the money or post a bond with the full amount if he appeals the ruling, court filings show. Otherwise, all the properties owned by Straub’s Palm Beach Polo could be sold at a public auction on June 12.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In 1993, at a government auction, Straub paid $27 million for the 2,250-acre golf, tennis and equestrian site. 

The village slapped Palm Beach Polo with 130 code violations in 2014 after he chopped down cypress trees and other vegetation inside the 92-acre preserve that Wellington designated as protected land. Straub’s company was also fined for developing an illegal dog park and subdivision in Big Blue. He accrued a combined $7.2 million in fines in two separate code enforcement cases, including a still pending matter for $400,000. 

In 2019, a village special magistrate lowered the fines to $1.4 million, but Straub appealed in Palm Beach Circuit Court. The same year, Palm Beach Polo sold 150 acres that are not part of the preserve for $16 million to Scott Swerdlin, an equine veterinarian in Wellington. Straub provided Swerdlin with $16 million in financing. 

In December, an appellate court ruled in the village’s favor, paving the way for the foreclosure judgment, court records show. 

The only developer who comes close to Straub’s stature in Wellington is Bellissimo. Last year, he sold the village’s 161-acre International Polo Club Palm Beach for $95 million. The property was part of an overall 248-acre tract that Bellissimo purchased for $72 million in 2016. 

Also last year, Bellissimo submitted plans to the village for two mega-projects. One development would entail an equestrian center with a pavilion and a stadium, 197 luxury villas, a country club with tennis courts and pools, horse stables and dedicated golf cart roads.  

The other project would consist of 270 condos, 30 single-family homes, a four-story hotel with retail, a 10-hole golf course, a sports complex and an underground parking structure on 101 acres in Wellington.