City proposes to take ownership of Palm Harbor driving range, Palm Coast marina

Palm Coast currently has no direct water access, and has been leasing the driving range at the Palm Harbor Golf Club.

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Local and visiting boaters may see upgraded facilities in coming years: The city of Palm Coast is proposing to take over the Palm Coast marina. As part of the same deal, the city would take ownership of the driving range at the Palm Harbor Golf Club, which it currently leases for a few dollars a year. The developer who currently owns those facilities would then build hundreds of condo units nearby.

City Manger Matt Morton referred to the redevelopment of those two amenities as a "second golden age of Palm Coast."

"It's had this promise of, 'Come down here and we're going to have all these beautiful amenities," he said, "And I think over the years, one of them has been privatized — the marina — and then ... under the original MPD, the developer had the ability to populate the driving range as condos."

Condos would be constructed near the driving range, which would be transferred to the city of Palm Coast. (Photo courtesy of the city of Palm Coast)
Condos would be constructed near the driving range, which would be transferred to the city of Palm Coast. (Photo courtesy of the city of Palm Coast)

After the entitlements on the parcels lapsed and the developer returned to the city to propose new residential construction, Morton said, "The mayor was very adamant that these have to be value-adds to the community."

Currently, the driving range and the marina are owned by the same developer: Jim Jacoby, with partner Sam Alley.

Under the proposed plan, the city would own and run the marina complex with city staff.

Gaining ownership of the driving range, the city would also get an additional 90 parking spaces for the course. 

The developer would build condos adjacent to the driving range and the marina, though at a lower density and height than had once been proposed, and the provision of the driving range and marina to the city would be essentially free, Morton said.

The marina complex would also potentially gain a hotel and two restaurants where boaters could tie up and stop in for a bite as they head up or down the Intracoastal.

The city would gain a considerable amount of land in the deal. It would return to Jacoby impact fees Jacoby had paid during initial development and that the city had not used, but would also require new impact fee payments for the new construction. 

The Palm Coast Marina

The Palm Coast Marina has seen better days — and not so terribly long ago, said Michael Schottey, the city's communications officer.

"Once upon a time, that was literally the spot," he said: People would come to the restaurant that had been at the site, admire the view, rave about the food. "That was sort of the lifestyle that was promised to people who lived here — to have well-rounded amenities," he said.

The current proposal, he said, would "reestablish these as things that are for everybody within our community, because they’re city-owned."

And for boats passing by on the Intracoastal, he said, it's often not obvious at this point that the marina's even there.

"We want to get it to the point where it’s not invisible," he said. "The idea is that this would be a beautiful sight as you’re passing the shoreline."

The proposal for the marina involves potential city management of the ship's store and fueling station as well as basic marina functions, likely with city staff and the hope that the marina would pay for itself. Grant money could likely be used for marina renovations, Schottey said.

Jacoby would add a five-story, 193-unit condo building. There may also be a five-story, 120-room hotel site, and two restaurants. 

Palm Harbor Golf Club

Palm Coast already owns most of the Palm Harbor Golf Club — but not the driving range

"For the [golf course's] longterm financial viability, you have to have the driving range," Morton said.

The original MPD, or Master Planned Development, for the land would have allowed the area that currently includes the range to be populated with 16 condo buildings totaling 159 units.

The new proposal would involve Jacoby donating the range to the city and building five condo buildings with a total of 120 units.

The proposals will be heard by the city's Planning and Land Development Regulation Board on Nov. 20. They would potentially then proceed to City Council workshops and meetings in November and December.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of developer Jim Jacoby's name.


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