3:00 am, March 16, 2014
When Boca West Country Club put a seven-acre parcel on the market in 2007, there was no shortage of offers from developers looking to build inside the sprawling and prestigious community.
But with the housing bust in full swing and the Great Recession about to start, getting construction financing for a project proved too difficult.
So plans sat idle until last year, when longtime developer Richard Siemens called Boca West President Jay DiPietro and told him he wanted to buy the site and build a luxury condominium there.
“It was exactly what we wanted,” DiPietro said last week. “He had a lot of courage and the power of his convictions.”
Siemens will close on the land purchase this year but already has started sales at Akoya at Boca West, a 120-unit project with prices ranging from $1.25 million to more than $2 million. Construction is expected to start in September and take about a year to complete.
It’s the first residential development inside Boca West in two decades. The country club of 3,400 homes sits on 2,000 acres between Yamato and Glades roads next to Florida’s Turnpike.
Siemens concedes there is an element of risk building a luxury condo that doesn’t overlook the ocean.
But he points out that Akoya will be within walking distance of all of the Boca West facilities, including six restaurants, four golf courses, 33 tennis courts and a 38,000-square-foot spa. Akoya buyers are required to pay a one-time fee of $70,000 for a social membership at Boca West.
“There is only once place where this can work, and that’s at Boca West,” Siemens said. “The reason why it’ll work is that Boca West has the amenities of a resort.”
Siemens, 79, has worked in South Florida since 1964 and has built more than 15,000 homes across the state. His local projects include Polo Club, Boca Raton, and Century Village of Pembroke Pines. He also built West Boca Medical Center, Delray Medical Center and a handful of shopping centers.
South Florida housing analyst Lewis Goodkin, who served as a consultant to Arvida Corp. when it was developing Boca West in the early 1970s, said it’s hard to beat ocean views. But in this case, he said, Akoya’s inland location isn’t a drawback.
“The total lifestyle and amenity package at Boca West is absolutely exceptional,” Goodkin said. “I think it has the ingredients to support a real high-end luxury condo.”
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