By Jill Fox
The fate of the former 223-acre Heron Bay Golf Club was discussed at a meeting on Friday when developers had the chance to present their ideas.
Although 150 acres will be utilized for stormwater retention, including giant storm drains to protect the city from flooding, the other 70 acres of the parcel will be used for commercial development.
Committee members made up of representatives from Parkland and Coral Springs, the Heron Bay Homeowners Association, and North Springs Independent District watched presentations about the future of the land.
For over four hours, the committee listened to proposals and viewed renderings of mixed-use outdoor types of shopping plazas, restaurants, fountains, even botanical gardens that could potentially occupy the commercial portion of the project built on the land.
Rod Colon, district manager of the North Springs Improvement District, moderated the discussions between their staff, developers, and committee members.
“Our job is to sell it to a developer based on the recommendations of the committee,” said Colon. “Then, the developer will work with the separate entities to move forward.”
East Coast Builders & Developers proposed 25 one and two-story buildings, placed in concentrical circles to form a harmonious walking, shopping, eating, and working environment.
They chose the circular architecture to create a balanced environment, with “fluent movement for the visitors.” The speaker mentioned the circles would help keep sound contained, except for rooftop restaurants.
Architectural and Concept Designer, Avi Bauman, compared the experience to Mizner Park – both upscale, with a work/play atmosphere for the community to work and entertain at the same place.
Upper Buena Vista Management presented the Emporium, a three-part project including health, design, arts, entertainment, and an education program in a village-like environment surrounded by nature reserves.
These developers feel their “Florida-based micro boutiques concept” would bring spirited merchants, food concepts, and artisan services, collaborating with Fairchild Botanical Gardens on landscaping.
At the epicenter of Emporium, residents would find shopping similar to a small-town center with high-end boutiques, an acoustic amphitheater, a resort-style wellness center, events spaces, co-working offices, and a market.
Locating the parking and services under the shopping town center will achieve a fully pedestrian-friendly shopping environment.
TripleFive Master Developers had a different approach to the property, adding another Somerset Charter School and a Lifetime Fitness Center, complete with luxury amenities, resort and spa-style pools, and a field for sports.
According to the proposal, “Heron Bay Town Center” was inspired by other classic Florida town centers, surrounded by shops, restaurants, outdoor dining, and connected by walkable, landscaped paths. Additional elements were an archway leading to a three-story office building, a specialty grocer, a bandstand for concerts, numerous water features, and a pedestrian boardwalk.
They also proposed incorporating a winery or high-end brewery with outdoor gardens, which would serve as a backdrop for weddings and special gatherings.
The Heron Bay Golf Course was purchased in 2011 for $3 million by ClubLink, a Canadian corporation that owns several other South Florida clubs. NSID signed a contract on March 3, 2021, to purchase the land and buildings for $32 million.
Colon said the committee adopted a simplistic scoring process, and the developer with the highest score will have a seat at the negotiation table.
“We have three responsive bidders, and I think we can work with any of them,” he said. “If they’re flexible, we’re flexible.”
All documents and developer presentations are visible here to allow for public feedback.
On September 15, the selection committee will reconvene to decide on the proposals.
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