Saturday, February 20, 2016


Everywhere we look in Palm Beach County, from Boca Raton to the county’s northern outer reach areas, there is new development going on bringing new jobs, new businesses, and sooner or later, new residents.  That says a lot about the improvement in our economy when billionaires and millionaires are “putting their monies where their mouth is.”

Minto Communities is planning a big family-oriented development with a 6 square mile footprint that they have named Westlake, which they say will have an economic impact of $1BB (Yes, BILLION) over the next 20 years.  The property is on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in The Acreage.  To compare, they say it will be slightly larger than the city of Lake Worth.  Plans include 4546 single family and town homes (which may generate $34MM in property tax revenue), 2.1 MM sq ft of commercial development, a 3,000-student university and a 150-unit hotel.  This all will be built on 3800 acres north of Okeechobee Boulevard.

Impact revenue fee income will be generated by Westlake, amounting to $58.7MM, with about $42MM for roads and $7.5MM for schools.  Environmental considerations include natural areas and open spaces that will occupy over 55% of the property with over 240 acres of parks, 600 acres of lakes and 15 miles of walking and biking trails.  A Town Center will be the social hub.

Those in favor say it is orderly planned growth that will provide a needed economic boost to the area.  The nay-sayers describe it as a traffic-choking idea.  Good for you, Minto, to plan to widen about two miles of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road which will cost them $12MM over the next 18 months.  Some residents say that people moved to the area to enjoy a rural lifestyle, but sooner or later this and other projects will make the area busy and overcrowded.  Total build out time is estimated to be a decade.  With ground breaking estimated to start in 90 days, residential sales may begin in early 2017.

There is both concern and happiness about a forthcoming GL homes community, the Indian Trails Grove project, where 4,000 homes are planned be built on a 3,900-acre tract not far from Westlake.

With over 1000 people a day coming to visit Florida, many of whom will want to move to Palm Beach County, it is to respect and accept growth and progress.  Expansion and new homes and businesses must go west and north to find tracts of land to build on.

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