The Royal Palm Beach Village Council last week authorized the village manager to negotiate for the sale of two parcels of property near Connect Church on Okeechobee Blvd. to be developed into a senior care center and a parking lot.
At the April 6 meeting, Village Manager Ray Liggins said Connect Church, previously known as the First Baptist Church of Royal Palm Beach, came to the village last year asking to purchase the pieces of land. “We entered into an agreement with them,” Liggins said. “We’ve been working with the church and a developer on the assisted-living residence.”
The original developer in the three-part agreement ended up not signing on. Instead, the church and the village made an agreement with Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development of Kansas City, Mo.
One 5.45-acre parcel, a civic site attached to the PortoSol community, would be used for an assisted-living and memory care facility, and the other 6.5-acre parcel, where the “Welcome to Royal Palm Beach” sign is, would be a parking lot for the church.
“The developer has agreed to purchase it for $2.2 million,” Liggins said, explaining that the price is below the appraised value, but that deed restrictions on the properties would keep them from being developed under their current zoning, which allows residential mixed use and townhomes. He added that any sale of village property for below the appraised value requires a four-vote council supermajority.
Liggins added that the properties have reverter clauses in the agreement stipulating that they can be used for no other purposes.
He pointed out that representatives were present from Hunt Midwest and Integrated Senior Living, which will provide the senior care. Also, Connect Church Pastor Dale Faircloth and consultant Donaldson Hearing were in the audience.
Hearing said he was impressed that the developers were looking to build in Royal Palm Beach.
“I think you will be extremely impressed at the benefits of what they are bringing here, in contrast to the proposal that was being considered previously,” he said. “It’s a combination between assisted-living and memory care, so you’re getting both.”
Aaron Schmidt with Hunt Midwest said the primary interest of his firm is to protect the family name. “We’re very proud of the name,” Schmidt said. “We are a very big developer in Kansas City and really civically involved. We do a lot with the community, and that’s why we’re excited to come here. This opportunity is perfect for us. We love the community. We completely agree with you that the need for assisted-living [and] memory care is really high in this community.”
David Simon, president and CEO of Integrated Senior Living, said his company will provide about 60 full-time-equivalent staff at the facility. “This is a company that believes primarily in residential care for about 4,500 residents, and we have more than 3,000 employees,” Simon said. “We design communities that provide a place to live, not a place to die.”
Councilman Jeff Hmara said the council had made a significant improvement in senor healthcare that evening and looked forward to seeing the details as they develop.
Vice Mayor Richard Valuntas said he had hesitated at first to see the sale of the property for less than the appraised value, but complimented the applicant and village staff for working together.
“I think the reverter clause really sensed that for me, and I look forward to getting this done,” Valuntas said.
Councilwoman Selena Smith said the use was great for the village and a desirable use for the space. However, she was concerned that the agreement is now with a business, rather than the church.
Pinto said that the church is still involved in the agreement, and he was very comfortable with the reverter clause of the agreement.
“We want to see this facility done, and that’s why we have very specific timelines in this agreement,” he said. “We want this agreement to move forward — and the sooner the better. I think this is absolutely public purpose utilization of property, so I’m very comfortable with that.”
Hmara made a motion to approve the item to enter into negotiations, which carried 5-0.