As supplies of buildable land in South Florida rapidly dry up, developers and anti-growth forces increasingly lock horns over the purchase of available acreage for new construction—especially in western sections bordering the Everglades.

One of the latest such battles in suburban Palm Bach County has apparently been won by a builder. G.L. Homes of Fort Lauderdale has just outbid a government agency to buy a 440-acre farm west of this city for a new residential tract. The county had hoped to add the site to its 21,000-acre so-called Agricultural Reserve where little or no development is allowed.

In the last two months, the county has purchased 967 acres of such land for $35 million ($36,194 per acre). But builders are reported to be plunking down as much as $77,000 an acre. Local voters have approved spending money to buy up more open land and keep it that way, but the county fears that it will deplete its current $100-million war chest too quickly if it goes toe-to-toe with the private sector in bidding for the most desirable construction sites.

The only other hope the anti-growth people and their environmentalist allies have in slowing, if not stopping, the area’s rapid expansion is planning and zoning board action. But on this front, more builders seem to be finding a way to get their plans approved.

In the case of G.L. Homes, for example, it received a green light to proceed by agreeing to keep 60% of the 440-acre Delray Beach parcel as open space and scale back what could have been a 440-home subdivision to 360 units.

The proposed gated community still needs to get a final approval from county commissioners. However, government agencies now often run into the problem of challenges in court if they try to block private landowners from getting as much for their property as the market will allow.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.