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Updates on the Golden Gate Golf Course Development Projects

In our March 2023 newsletter, we provided details on the current ongoing projects in the government-acquired Golden Gate Golf Course, which includes the development of Affordable Housing, a State Veterans Nursing facility, and a golf & entertainment complex. We are continuing to monitor and share updates on these ongoing projects. As of the June 27, 2023, Board of County Commissioners Meeting, here are some notable updates on the Golden Gate Golf Course Development Projects:  


Affordable Housing  

The April 25th Board of County Commissioners Meeting included a recommendation to approve the First Amendment to Developer Agreement with Rural Neighborhoods, Inc., to develop Housing. The First Amendment stipulates the following:  

  1. The area to be used by Rural Neighborhoods is proposed to be reduced by 1.64 acres to remove the greenway. This reduction will result in County maintenance of the greenway as part of the golf course, which means additional costs shouldered by the County. 
  2. Provide corrections and clarifications re: unit totals and types to be developed due to the proposed inclusion of Federal and State grant funding. Rural Neighborhoods will build at least 350 units as initially outlined in the Developer Agreement. The units will continue to be rented as originally approved, with priority given to two tiers of Essential Service Personnel. Tier 1 will include individuals in the Healthcare, Education, and Emergency Services sectors; Tier 2 will consist of Government employees. 
  3. Clarify the construction timeline and the anticipated schedule for each Phase completion to be submitted to the County. 

In addition, the Board was requested to approve the Collier County Standard Form Long-Term Ground Lease with Rural Neighborhoods, Inc. for a nominal annual rent of $10 for their 99-year term lease. The County’s investment into the subject property is roughly $5.5 million considering the cost of the land and zoning work required; this funding is expected to come from the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Fund. Once the Infrastructure Surtax Tax Committee validates this project, $855,684 will be moved to the Park’s Impact Fee Fund for a portion of the initial cash outlay plus four years of debt service payments.  



State Veterans Nursing Home  

$30 million worth of funds from the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Funding were successfully transferred to the State Veteran Services on May 2023 as requested by the Collier County Board of County Commissioners for the construction and development of the State Veterans’ Nursing Home Facility. A month later, the Board approved allocating another $10 million to construct additional square footage to incorporate adult day health care and outpatient therapy services in the facility.     

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) covers both services as a benefit for veterans, however, construction of the square footage required to host these services is only considered as part of a construction grant application seeking matching funds for the renovation of an existing facility; it cannot be a part of a construction grant application for a new skilled nursing facility. Thus, to offer these critical services to local veterans, the State applicant must bear the cost.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo discussed the possibility of State matching funds of $10M for the proposed adult day health care and outpatient therapy services conceptually approved by the BCC at the recent June 27 meeting. Also approved at this meeting was the relocation of the long-term Veterans community care campus, which could become a national model for services to Veterans according to State Veteran’s Services speakers.  The Veterans Center will move to the 18 Acre parcel at the south corner of Golden Gate Parkway and Collier Boulevard, originally planned for the BigShots Golf and Entertainment Complex. This larger parcel will allow for a single-story complex to enable the proposed expanded veterans’ services.

There are still outstanding items, including:

  • Final Approval of the site by state and federal agencies
  • Approval of the proposed $10 Million state match to the recently approved $10M additional county dollars
  • Preliminary and/or Final design
  • Identification of the total cost of construction
  • Identification of the total cost of operations
  • Identification of sources for the total costs

Our office will continue to monitor the costs and funding as approved and allocated.


Golf and Entertainment Complex   

BigShots, the project developer, requested a sixth amendment to grant an extension of their Financing Contingency Period last April. During its fifth amendment, the deadline was moved from February 2023 to April 2023. The Board approved this extension for the last time until the end of June.

After six extensions of the final contingency period, BigShots terminated the lease on June 19, 2023. At the June 27 Board of County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners have raised a new course of action for the Golden Gate Golf Course land, which includes developing a public golf course and clubhouse. Cost of creating the golf course were estimated at $7M and operations were to be by BigShots.  Any new plan will need to be vetted for costs, funding sources and operational options.

Discussions also included providing land needed by First Tee of Naples/Collier, a chapter of an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people to develop a learning center. First Tee had sought a sub-lease with BigShots which has now terminated their lease with the County.  The availability of the parcels for other uses will be discussed as there may be other opportunities for development.

We will continue monitoring these large-scale projects of great concern to our taxpayers.