About Admirals Cove
From its inception Admirals Cove was envisioned as a community like no other, where the stunning beauty of nature perfectly frames the very best of everything in all her glorious splendor.
The land upon which Admirals Cove was built has always been special. But it took more than one visionary to transform it from subtropical wilderness to the fantastic active community it is today.
A 1992 aerial view of Golf Village, prior to groundbreaking.
Photo courtesy of Richard Sheehan.
The land upon which Admirals Cove was built was actually originally owned by billionaire philanthropist John D. MacArthur. MacArthur, who built his empire in the insurance industry during the first half of the 20th century, moved on to real estate, acquiring over 100,000 acres of land in Florida in the 1950s and 60s.
In addition to the tracts that became the City of Palm Beach Gardens and the Village of North Palm Beach, MacArthur's land formed the foundation for nearly all the development in northeastern Palm Beach County.
MacArthur also began developing some of it himself by excavating miles of canals, despite not having the permission of either state or county governments at the time. MacArthur’s canals were not connected to the Intracoastal Waterway at the time, so he was able to successfully claim that he did not need government approval. Eventually, natural erosion opened the canals to the Intracoastal.
The Creation of Admirals Cove
Before his death in 1978, MacArthur created the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to administer his vast fortune. In 1985, the Foundation made a tract of land known as “Project 57” available for purchase. The 727-acre parcel caught the eye of real estate developer Ben Frankel, who had just completed development of Hunter’s Run in Boynton Beach.
Frankel instantly saw the value of the parcel and partnered with Mutual Benefit Life Insurance to purchase and develop the land. In consideration of the 5.5 miles of navigable waterways that were by this time opened to the Intracoastal Waterway, the project was named “Admirals Cove.” Development began in 1986, with the first model homes completed by year’s end.
A 65,000‐square‐foot Clubhouse was built in 1988 and continues to serve as a landmark in the community.
Photo by Sargent Photography
Early construction photos show the location of the first
pool, long before the addition of the Youth Facility or
A Dedication to Nature
From the outset, Admirals Cove was conceived as a different kind of development. Frankel’s vision was very forward-thinking. Not only did he envision an “all-inclusive” community with on-site amenities that would include an inn, a bank, and a spa as well as a clubhouse full of different dining options, but he was also determined to preserve the natural environment of the property as well.
Despite being approved for over 1,200 units, they instead opted for less density and more natural spaces. Thousands of mangroves were added to shore up the marine landscape. Oceanographic and environmental engineer Bob Snyder and biologist Michael Landrum worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, Florida EPA and other environmental and conservation agencies to ensure the protection of all endangered species during development. This helped ensure that Admirals Cove could maintain an environment friendly to the many species of waterfowl and fish, as well as manatees that could be found there.
The original 57‐slip Marina could accommodate yachts up to 120 feet in length.
Photo by Sargent Photography
This 1987 aerial photograph gives a bird’s eye view of the canals and property that now make up Admirals Cove. Five model homes can be seen along one of the central canals. Photo courtesy of Richard Sheehan.
The first Admirals Cove residents began moving in over the 1987-88 winter season. Both the marina and 18-hole championship (east) golf course opened in 1988. For the first two years, the Harbor Master building served as a temporary clubhouse until the clubhouse was completed in 1989.
The club was always intended to be member-owned, and became an equity club in 1988. During the 1990s negotiations took place between developers and resident /members, culminating in a transition to full member equity ownership in November 1999.
Since that time, the club has undergone several improvements and upgrades, with the most significant, which included a complete renovation of the clubhouse porte cochère, spa, and wellness center being completed in early 2020.
Admirals Cove today stands as a proud legacy to the visions of both MacArthur and Frankel, as well as the many residents who have contributed to this very special and unique community.
The generous and caring nature of our residents is clearly evident in the Admirals Cove Foundation. Focused exclusively on charitable education, health, and human services, the Foundation embodies the club’s culture of giving, and receives profound levels of participation by our members.Learn More