Fanjul family’s Florida Crystals buys 1,600 acres in Palm Beach County

Sugar cane giant paid $16M for the property

Fanjul Family’s Florida Crystals Buys Palm Beach County Land
Florida Crystals’ Alfonso “Alfy” Fanjul Jr. and the purchased land (Google Maps, Getty)

The Fanjul family’s Florida Crystals bought 1,626 acres of agricultural land in western Palm Beach County. 

The West Palm Beach-based sugar cane giant paid $15.7 million for the swath of land that’s east of U.S. Highway 27 in unincorporated Palm Beach County, near South Bay, according to records and real estate database Vizzda. An entity tied to The King Realty Company, led by Kristopher Reetz, sold the property. 

The deal breaks down to $9,700 per acre. 

Florida Crystals, one of the largest sugar producers in the U.S., has vast sugar farmland holdings south of Lake Okeechobee. That has been at the heart of yearslong contention, as environmentalists argue some of Florida Crystals and other sugar cane companies’ land is needed to allow lakeflow southward and cut discharges to the east and west of the state. The discharges have been cited as the cause of algal blooms in past years. 

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Florida Crystals didn’t immediately return a request for comment on its plans for the acreage it purchased. The seller declined to comment. 

The Fanjul family’s late patriarch, Alfonso Fanjul Sr., started a conglomerate of cane sugar refineries and mills in Cuba. After moving to the U.S. following the 1959 revolution in Cuba, he started buying up land in Palm Beach County. The firm now is run by his sons Alfonso “Alfy” Fanjul Jr., José “Pepe” Fanjul and Andres Fanjul. 

The Fanjuls also have a real estate business. FCI Residential, based in Coral Gables, has a portfolio of roughly 4,500 residential units in South Florida, according to its website. FCI’s projects include a 245-unit apartment complex at 11055 West 36th Avenue in Hialeah, and a 648-unit apartment complex off Flamingo Road in Miramar. 
Some developers have homed in on agricultural land in Palm Beach County with plans for new construction. At the Agricultura Reserve, a 22,000-acre swath west of Boca Raton, BB Living plans a 314-unit apartment complex at 11275 Acme Dairy Road in an unincorporated area of the county.

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