The Wellington Village Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, Sept. 24 to the Players Club Residencies project, which proposes to tear down the existing Players Club building and replace it with a 50-unit luxury condominium building to be known as Coach House Wellington.
The approval encompasses three ordinances — a comprehensive plan amendment and a zoning text amendment regarding the building’s height, and a comprehensive plan amendment regarding the project itself. All three were approved by the council unanimously.
Jon Schmidt of the land planning firm Schmidt Nichols represented owner Neil Hirsch and Sperin LLC. Schmidt presented renderings of the site and discussed the proposed 50-unit condominium building on the 5.58-acre parcel located at 13410 South Shore Blvd.
“Thank you for your consideration tonight for the Coach House, which is the new name for the project,” Schmidt said. “I feel really honored to work on this project. These high-end projects don’t come to our office too often. So, it’s really nice to be involved with them. We have been working on this project 10 months just with staff. We submitted this in December, but we started considerably before that.”
Schmidt gave the council a project overview. He produced renderings of the building to show the council what it will look like.
“This is a concierge service ultra-high-end luxury condominium,” Schmidt explained. “We feel we are responding to a niche that has a void in the Wellington market for a luxury, lock-and-leave building. This project will receive international and national exposure.”
The 50 high-end condominium units will have an underground parking area with private garages, elevators and a rooftop pool, replacing the existing restaurant and club building located on the site.
The assessed value will be somewhere around $140 million with permit and impact fees to Wellington of over $1 million. There will be more than 500 jobs for construction and 12 full-time positions at completion. The total ad valorem taxes to the county will be $4 million, and to the village $1.5 million.
Schmidt believes there is a high tax climate that’s pushing a lot of people to relocate to Florida. He thinks the property will enhance the Wellington brand.
Schmidt added that many local residents with large estates might like to downsize. Having a full-service, high-end building will fulfill their needs.
“It’s a four-story, tiered design,” Schmidt said. “I call it a wedding cake design. We move from the outside in as you go higher. We have considerably higher setbacks, higher green spaces and reduced traffic [compared to the previous restaurant use].”
In order to allow the project, the comprehensive text amendment and the zoning text amendment were required to change the rules regarding the height of buildings as they relate to multi-family structures within the Wellington PUD. To make sure that the change does not lead to a proliferation of four-story buildings in central Wellington, a list of conditions were placed on such parcels.
In order to comply with the change, the applicant had to incorporate an additional setback, be within a planned development, be within residential classifications E, F, G or H, and be at least two acres in size for anything over 35 feet.
Currently the code provides that for every foot above 35 feet, one must provide another foot of setback. If one goes over 56 feet, there is a limitation of 15 percent, limited to areas that are not living or dwelling units.
“We are proposing two simple changes to allow additional height in residential E, F, G and H, and that all buildings that are exceeding 35 feet, they are subject to your approval,” Schmidt explained. “This allows your council to look at projects on a case-by-case basis and apply these codes.”
During public comment, attorney Alec Domb spoke on behalf of Palm Beach Polo owner Glenn Straub.
“My client is opposed to the approval of these items, and I’m here to express that on his behalf,” Domb said. “As you know, we came before you and asked for a master plan amendment on commercial recreation, to play sports, and that was turned down. But here tonight, in order to fix the sins of the Players Club, which has been somewhat of a black eye in this community, you are actually contemplating allocating 50 DUs [dwelling units] — or cramming 50 DUs — onto a 5.5-acre parcel of property creating one of the most densely used parcels of land in Wellington, allowing the tallest building perhaps in Wellington, and changing commercial recreation to multifamily residential, and allowing access points off the property onto South Shore. There have been issues with traffic there.”
In other business, the council heard a presentation by Shawn Hall, manager of government affairs for Palm Tran Connections, and Anna Bielawska, senior transit planner for Palm Tran
Palm Tran Connections is a shared ride, door-to-door paratransit service that provides transportation for disabled residents and visitors in Palm Beach County under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Division of Senior Services and the Transportation Disadvantaged Program.
“We appreciate the opportunity to present to you tonight on the key updates initiative that we are doing at Palm Tran,” Hall said. “The reason we are here tonight is to provide you with some updates to our service changes. These are things we are continually improving upon.”
Hall explained that Palm Tran provides nine million rides per year, making it the most-used transportation mode in Palm Beach County. They have 32 routes and more than 2,900 stops throughout the county.
Bielawska explained how Palm Tran is helping Wellington residents.
“I want to give you a brief overview of current Palm Tran services in the Village of Wellington,” Bielawska said. “Currently, there are five routes, which are routes 40, 43, 46, 52 and 62. There are 25 stops in the Village of Wellington with annual boardings of more than 292,000.”
Bielawska said her agency has been working to improve its service. “We have improved ridership, extended routes and added weekend services,” she said. “This has had a positive impact on the Village of Wellington because we’ve improved Route 46, which is the Forest Hill corridor, which goes from West Palm Beach to the Mall at Wellington Green.”
Palm Tran’s mission is to provide access to opportunity for everyone, safely, efficiently and courteously. To learn more, visit www.palmtran.org.