New Plans for Dressage Show Grounds, Condominium Hotel, Mullti-Family Condo Units at Wellington’s International Polo Club

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Conceptual site plan for equestrian show grounds, condominium hotel and multi-family condominiums at International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida.

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, May 2, 2017–New plans for Global Dressage Festival show grounds, a 100-unit condominium hotel and up to 72 multi-family condominiums have been submitted to the city government on 72acres/29Ha of the International Polo Club with the aim of getting approval by the end of this month.

No indication was given in the submission on the ambitious plans whether the facility would be built this year. Other approvals will be required even if Wellington’s five-member council gives it the green light.

The equestrian show grounds of a centerpiece stadium and “Coliseum Club,” four other sand and two grass arenas will abut the existing complex of the permanent polo grand stand and the main polo field that hosts the U.S. Open and almost four months of high and medium goal tournaments.

The conceptual site plan was drawn up by Wellington Equestrian Partners headed up by Mark Bellissimo who also leads a group of investors preparing the newly constructed Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina to host the World Equestrian Games in September, 2018.

The IPC dressage venue will be the third major horse show complex in Wellington, joining the current Stadium grounds that were built to host the Global festival beginning in 2013 but has since been outgrown and the Winter Equestrian Festival grounds of jumper and hunter competitions. All three show grounds are owned by the Wellington partnership beginning with the acquisition of WEF more than a decade ago.

Highlights of the IPC plan:

–Permanent show stadium with state of the art footing and a permanent ”Coliseum Club” along with four sand and two grass arenas plus stabling on 21 acres/8.5Ha;

–Main polo arena, grand stand, club house, restaurant, tennis and croquet as well as other facilities on 34 acres/13.7Ha;

—A condominium hotel of 100 units as high as 56 feet/17m and including restaurant/lounge, banquet hall, meeting rooms and a fitness center;

–A private club, and

—Two multi-family condominium blocks with a total of 72 units.

No covered arena such as the Van Kampen structure at the existing Global grounds was shown on the plans.

The plan was submitted in time for consideration by the city planning and zoning committee on May 10 and a decision by the full five-member council May 23.

The current council was elected a year ago after three years in which the majority of the government blocked equestrian development. Three of those five members that had been elected with massive financial support from a family opposed to the Global facility were voted out in the election a year ago. The family opposed to Global has begun staging its own international jumping competitions on its estate across from Global.

Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes the shows, said in the application that current city regulations were developed a quarter century ago focused on a residential equestrian orientation and “never anticipated the development of one of the world’s largest equestrian economies.”

“Wellington must now adjust to allow for this critical economy to stabilize and have the required flexibility and land use regulations necessary to support a controlled and thoughtful growth in the character of a world class equestrian lifestyle destination,” it said.

“The equestrian industry is critical to Wellington’s long term success and Wellington must, as a community, have the vision to stay ahead of the market to preserve and enhance the equestrian industry by creating world class venues to support growth, expanding the industry by extending the season, increasing innovations and service within the equestrian experience, attracting new participants, new spectators and new sponsors and more aggressively integrate and collaborate with all areas of the broader Wellington community. With a higher level of inclusion in social, recreational, professional and economic participation for Wellington residents, there can be greater benefits for all in the success of the equestrian industry..

“The key to sustaining the equestrian industry is to provide a balance of properties in Wellington that can accommodate horse farms, commercial equestrian land uses and equestrian venues along with their ancillary and supporting land uses. This necessarily includes providing flexible land use regulations for the growth and sustainability of the major equestrian venues, the life blood of Wellington’s equestrian industry.”

A larger diagram in PDF format.