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Boca Raton Lifestyle for the Rich and Families

July 13, 2015 - BOCA RATON, Fla.

Despite its reputation as the playground of the wealthy, Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, south Florida serves up a sophistication that’s more attainable than you think.

"Rendezvous of the rich". Addison Mizner used this self-aggrandizing advertisement to spur the development of Boca Raton. While much has changed since this city by the sea began as a small farming village in 1903, Mizner’s prophetic poster rings true today for the city many refer to as “the Beverly Hills of South Florida.”

Halfway between Deerfield Beach to the north and Delray Beach to the south, Boca, as the locals call it, owes much of its existence to Mizner, a California transplant who became the epitome of a society architect when he began building Palm Beach resort homes. By the height of the land boom in 1925, he and his partners had purchased nearly 1,600 acres of land in Boca Raton. His significant influence remains noticeable in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture throughout the city. According to  “Mizner’s dreams really changed the shape of the community. It was our glamour era, and he put her on the map.”

There is east Boca and west Boca. Roughly half of Boca’s residents live in West Boca. There are more middle class, more families in the western area. The construction out there is newer, but there is also more conformity. It’s very middle of the road — not too cheap, but not too expensive. And very good public schools, as well as 16 private schools, which is why so many families do relocate to Boca Raton.

Gated communities and country clubs are truly de rigueur in Boca. According to Forbes magazine, the metropolis claims three of the 10 most expensive gated communities in the United States - Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club comes in at number one; the Sanctuary and Le Lac rank number six and eight, respectively. Thankfully, Boca’s crime statistics don’t necessitate the gates.

East Boca is home to retirees, second-home owners and DINKS (“dual-income-no-kids,” a growing segment of the population that encompasses married couples with no children, who make up 53 percent of Boca’s population). “The higher-end homes are often bought by second-home owners from the Northeast, Europe or South America.

Nature lovers opt for a small neighborhood called Old Floresta in southern Boca. Here, Mizner planned 29 Mediterranean-style homes, but he went bankrupt in 1927, leaving many unfinished. Streets here have names like Hibiscus and Azalea. While only a handful of homes are true “Mizners,” most were built in his style, with barrel-tiled roofs, stucco walls and wrought-iron balconies. The lushly landscaped seven-squareblock community is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thanks to the construction in 1967 of IBM’s main complex — where the company would later develop the personal computer — Boca Raton is also a corporate destination. On any given day, there are roughly 350,000 folks within city limits, almost doubling its residential population.

The is one of Mizner’s masterpieces and remains an integral — and elite — part of the community. Since its 1926 debut, there have been numerous additions to the property, originally named the Cloister Inn, including the pink tower visible from miles away as it seems to rise out of the Intracoastal Waterway. During World War II, the property was used as military barracks for the thousands of servicemen who were based in South Florida, many of whom remained in the area after the war ended, helping grow and transform the community.

Boca’s next claim to fame has got to be its shopping options - in the center of the city is the largest indoor mall in Palm Beach County.

In the heart of downtown Boca Raton in the east is,  an outdoor destination surrounded by two wide streets with stores on either side, lushly landscaped green space in the middle and the Centre for the Arts at the end, which includes an amphitheater, concert hall and the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

Mizner Park was the first major city efort to revitalize downtown. Since its opening in 1991, a number of eight- to 10-story, mixed-use buildings have been erected, and luxurious condominium buildings Palmetto Place, Townsend Place and 200 East are luring cosmopolitan residents to downtown living. New projects include upscale rental complexes and additional deluxe condominiums.

The Boca Raton beaches are incredible and there’s a huge boating community. The barrier island beaches span from Spanish River at the north end, Red Reef Beach and Golf and Palmetto Park South Beach in the center and the South Inlet Beach at the south end almost at the Deerfield Beach border. Ongoing efforts to protect the quality of life and limit over development are featured on local sites and

About the Author: Nanette Gordon, Boca Raton Lifestyle Examiner, is a transplant from New York City and enjoyed a life near the beach during her youth on Long Island while residing in Rockville Centre and East Hampton. Nanette now enjoys her new life near the beach in a quiet area nestled between Lake Boca, the Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Nanette enjoys conservative politics advocacy and volunteers for the Boca Raton Caucus. She is devoted to her church life and enjoys attending service and participating in outreach for Calvary Chapel in Boca Raton.  Nanette wears many hats during the course of her day, enjoys writing and social media marketing. Learn more about Nanette and follow her and connect at:,,,, and www./

Nanette Gordon