GL Homes revives controversial 1,000-home proposal for Ag Reserve
Developer wants Palm Beach County to lift building restriction, in exchange for creating and paying for $150M water treatment area elsewhere in county
GL Homes is pursuing a controversial development proposal for a 1,000-home age-restricted community in Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve.
Next week, the Palm Beach County Commission is expected to consider the Sunrise-based homebuilder’s plan that includes a land swap. Under GL Homes’ proposal, the firm would be allowed to build out 682 acres in the Ag Reserve, an area where development is limited. In exchange, GL Homes would create and pay for a $150 million water treatment area in The Acreage, in a different part of the county, that would help reduce algae blooms in regional water bodies, The Palm Beach Post reported.
GL Homes has pursued different versions of the land swap proposal since at least last year. The company wants the county to remove an easement that bans development at the Ag Reserve, which spans 22,000 acres west of Boca Raton.
Under its most recent proposal, GL Homes has offered several community benefits. They include a plan to build a 277-unit workforce housing complex and a 25-acre county park at the Ag Reserve. The homebuilder also has vowed to donate land to a Jewish association to develop a facility for seniors and the developmentally disabled.
Environmentalists and other critics oppose the proposal, in part arguing that GL Homes previously had decided to keep its 682 acres at the Ag Reserve vacant, in exchange for increasing the density at its nearby residential developments. Each home in the 55-plus residential community is expected to sell for more than $1 million, much more than the price homes would sell for in The Acreage, a short distance west of the Seminole Pratt Whitney Road and Orange Boulevard intersection.
If the deal goes through, GL Homes vowed it would reduce the nearly 4,000 homes it can build at The Acreage, according to The Post.
GL, led by President Misha Ezratti, is a prolific Florida homebuilder. In December, the firm paid $35.3 million for 337 home lots roughly at the northwest corner of Avenir Drive and Coconut Boulevard at Avenir, a master-planned community in Palm Beach Gardens.
Near Wellington, GL scooped up 209 homesites last year for $28.1 million at Arden, another master-planned community.
– Lidia Dinkova