Mayor Canfield feels that Centex deceived him and abused the City and City Council

Future of resort and Palm Harbor Golf Course in limbo

Palm Coast, FL – February 14, 2007 – The City of Palm Coast made building height concessions to the developer of the new Palm Coast Resort in return for anticipated new jobs and increased tax revenue. Now, the future of the new resort hotel, some of the condominiums, and the Palm Harbor Golf Course are in limbo. In a letter dated February 6, 2007 to new City Manager, Jim Landon, Mayor Jim Canfield blasts Centex for apparently backing out of an agreement with the city. The local developer is Centex Destination Properties (CDP), a division of Centex.

Canfield’s letter, reproduced below, echoes the frustration felt by many who contracted with Centex for condominiums or placed reservation deposits for the purchase of units in the condo/hotel. Centex recently withdrew (temporarily) its permit to build the hotel portion of the resort. This, combined with the  depressed condominium market and ongoing speculation over the possible purchase of additional CDP properties by the Ginn Company, has made several investors uneasy. The action by the Mayor should help bring things to a head.

What a shame the Pine Harbor Golf Course is potentially being abandoned at the same time the area is in desperate need for more public golfing venues. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this situation could be leveraged to enable the Palm Harbor course to fulfill this need? The Mayor suggests the possible use of eminent domain to make this happen.

Mayor Canfield’s letter:

To:   Jim Landon, City Manager
From: Jim Canfield, Mayor
Date: February 6, 2007
Re: The Palm Coast Resort PUD

I recently learned from email reports (Jon Netts) and newspaper articles that Centex Corporation has decided to delay or abandon the construction of the Palm Coast Resort.

I find that news very disturbing and offer some background information on this project.

Palm Coast Holdings had this project approved in 2005.  The proposal violated the City construction height and density regulations but I voted for it (and the Council did also) for the following reasons:

1. Palm Coast always had a resort hotel – the Sheraton, then the Harborside at the site – and it was important for us to continue to have that asset.
2. The PUD as approved was to include a new resort hotel, condo units, an improved Palm Harbor Golf Course with condo units.
3. That package was to give the City 300 new jobs and more than 70 million in taxes over 20 years.

I thought we did a good thing for our City by approving this PUD and was proud of our efforts when this picture was taken in early 2006.

What happened since that picture was taken?

– Palm Coast Holdings sold the entire project to the Centex Corporation – it was rumored that Centex sold the project to the Ginn Corporation.  I believe Centex still owns the project as of this day.

What is the current stage of construction for this project?

– One condo unit of 8 stories is near completion at the Harborside site.
– One parking garage for 800 cars is near completion next to the 8 story condo.
– The Palm Harbor Golf Course Clubhouse was demolished and the golf course closed and is not being maintained.
– Ground was broken for the Golf Course Condos, but that was disbanded – and no construction has taken place.
– Tons of soil was removed at Harborside and trees cut down for future construction.

Now Centex – if that corporation still owns the project – has decided to delay the resort hotel indefinitely.  This means Centex takes whatever part of the package they want!  I feel that I, as the Mayor, have been deceived!  In fact that our City and our City Council has been abused!

I request the following action:

1. A detailed status report on the Palm Coast PUD be presented by City staff at our next City Council meeting – which is Tuesday, February 20th.  The report should include:

– a copy of the Council approved PUD project.
– a verification that current construction follows that PUD requirement and any variances to that PUD granted by City staff.
– a statement by staff of the time requirements for construction of all units by the PUD.
– a statement on who owns the project and what the financial transaction filing indicates.
– a memorandum by staff on what steps will be taken to compensate for the premature removal of soil and trees from the construction site.
– a statement by the City Attorney on the feasibility of the City enacting eminent domain proceedings to obtain the Palm Harbor Golf Course.

Read during City Council meeting of February 6, 2007

cc: City Attorney
 Vice Mayor Netts
 Council Member DiStefano
 Council Member Peterson
 Council Member Venne

7 replies
  1. Pat
    Pat says:

    Mayor and Centex


    The Mayor might want to go take a look at Palm Coast Resort so he can see for himself the progress that has been made in less than a year on the resort. He might then want to drive over to Town Center which seems to be nothing more than a dust bowl with very little construction activity happening.
    I for one am happy to see that Centex has removed an old run down hotel and is building one of the nicest buildings the city of Palm Coast has ever seen. Yes, the market in Palm Coast has softened and I am sure sales are not what they were 18 months ago, but they are making progress on Palm Coast Resort.
    Hasn\\’t it taken Ginn almost 5 years to complete Yacht Harbour Village? Developers pull back permits all the time and I find it very irresponsible and political for the Mayor to \\\”blast Centex\\\” when he is clearly out of touch with the situation. It seems to me the Mayor is doing nothing more than covering his own hide by turning on Centex when they have been a model developer in Palm Coast for several years.
    If the Mayor wants to see Palm Coast Resort completed in a reasonable period of time he might want to work with Centex and not against them by making irresponsible comments to the media and the citizens of Palm Coast for his own political gain. I for one believe Palm Coast is much better off today because of the likes of companies such as Centex, Ginn and WCI.


  2. Bob Rener
    Bob Rener says:


    It seems as if everyday we see politics slow us down. It should be that progress is more important than the petty differences of the \\\”big fish\\\” but its obviously not. You were not decieved mayor, you guys granted the PUD….its business from there out, don\\’t take it so personal. We all are at a loss from the recent market conditions…buyers and devlopers alike. But sad days are gone and things are and will pick up QUICKLY… grow up!!

  3. Paul Martini
    Paul Martini says:


    This mayor is as phony as polititians come. My wife was at the town meeting when they had a hearing about the project. everybody seemed to be in the Centex pocket, including the mayor. Now he writes this letter, just to save his butt.

  4. G
    G says:

    Time frame

    Whats the issue? Centex has lived up to there end and will finish resort and course within time frame the city agreed to.I guess the mayor just likes bad publicity for his community.

  5. LS
    LS says:

    Centex Deceived Palm Coast and the

    Those making comments sticking up for Centex obviously didn’t go to the huge turnout City Council meeting held at the Palm Coast High School in 2005. Then Palm Coast Holdings folks dressed a bunch of folks in grey T-shirt saying \”SAVE OUR RESORT.\” The implication was that either the PUD is approved OR the Resort goes away. Well, here we are two years later and we don’t have the old resort OR the \”new\” resort…we don’t have any resort at all. What stands there now is a condo building which is hardly sold at all. Major investors are pulling out. The project is failing. Centex wants us to believe they didn’t see this coming. Probably, they didn’t…all they saw was piles of money flowing into their Corporate coffers.

    During the 2005 PUD hearing, Palm Coast Holdings showed everyone glorious renderings of a huge resort which they \”said\” would generate all sorts of revenue and offer a place for all within the City. We’ll folks … WHERE IS IT? Most of the boats formerly in the resort are gone. The boat ramp is closed. The parking garage is a concrete eyesore to nearby neighbors. The golf course is not only closed but is an eyesore AND a fire hazard to property owners who live ON it.

    Some of you are correct … the \”Mayor\” is trying (now) to cover his butt. It’s too late. HE and those who voted for this monstrocity were warned that the real estate bubble might burst. What the Mayor should do NOW is turn in his immediate resignation AND make a public apology to the Citizens of Palm Coast. He should go down with the \”ship\” he concocted. The failed Centex Palm Coast Resort is now the LEGACY of Mayor Canfield … thanks a lot, buddy!

    Developers … watch out! PUD is a four letter nasty word to residents of this City. We want to see major dollar performance bonds and performance time schedules any time that a major project is proposed. We want to see zoning laws upheld, not navigated AROUND with PUDs. We want PUDs used ONLY in rare occasions when it’s in the public interest AND when performance bonds and other process safeguards have been put into place.

    The folks sticking up for Centex obviously don’t live ON (adjacent) to the Palm Harbor Golf Course. They’d be singing a different tune if they were.

    Palm Coast WAS a retirement community and the Palm Harbor Golf Course and the former resort – in all of it’s incarnations – was an amentiy which drew many here. What has been done TO it is a travesty that residents won’t soon forget.

    NOW then, what I want to know is … when is Dick Kelton going to pay the residents of Palm Coast the million dollars he spent on the design for the glass \”Taj Mahal\” City Hall that voters overwhelmingly turned down.

    Watch out Centex … we’re coming for YOU next!


  6. Paul Martini
    Paul Martini says:

    sticking up for Centex

    Who are the people who want to tell us that Centex is the greatest thing on earth. Are they Centex employees – is this nonsense arranged by Centex. Can we find out ???

  7. Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie says:


    hey LS

    why dont we put you in a helicopter and fly you over to malaysia to check out the conditions there.

    Palm Harbor is not that bad, grow up.
    go enjoy the wildlife for 10 minutes instead of aimlessly trying to sink a birdie.

    suck it up toughstuff, we are working on it!!

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