SEMINOLE — TTGC LLC, which owns the former Tides Golf Club, 11832 66th Ave., demolished the Tides Clubhouse on the property Jan. 9.
The development group, led by managing partner Ron Carpenter, submitted plans to build Restoration Bay, which will consist of 273 detached single-family homes, on the property to Pinellas County July 23. At the same time, it also submitted a request to reclassify the property from recreation/open space and preservation to residential low and preservation land use categories.
Though the county is still reviewing the development plans, it issued a demolition permit for TTGC to take down the Tides Clubhouse.
Chessa Ramirez, a spokesperson for Carpenter, wrote in a Jan. 9 email to Tampa Bay Newspapers, “We are pleased to inform you that the Tides Clubhouse has been demolished using best practices as designated by the state of Florida. During the demolition, a consistent stream of water was directed at the demolition site by the contractors to mitigate any dust particles that could be loosened from the surrounding ground area, as per Florida regulations. To evaluate dust and other airborne particles generated during the demolition of the former clubhouse, portable meters were used during active demolition and backfilling activities.”
Moving forward, developers “will continue to practice environmentally friendly development practices through storm water treatment and drainage easement reparation,” she added.
Following the Tides Clubhouse demolition, the land will be prepared for construction, according to a press release provided by Ramirez.
Ron Stephens, vice president of Save the Tides, a community organization dedicated to preserving the Tides property as a golf club or open green space, called the demolition of the Tides Clubhouse “a sad thing.”
He added, “It’s a shame they destroyed it. They destroyed a little bit of Pinellas County history.”
The clubhouse dates back to the 1950s when the property was still the Tides Hotel and Bath Club, he said, and was frequented by many in the film industry. Visitors included Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock, he added.
Though the demolition was permitted, Stephens said Save the Tides is hopeful the zoning change won’t be allowed and that the development won’t become a reality.
“It doesn’t mean that they have full control of the Tides and can build on the property,” he said. “It’s currently zoned as recreational open space, which is completely different from what they want to do.”
Other golf courses
The Tides is one of three golf courses in the Seminole area that have recently been eyed by developers.
Baypointe Golf Course, 9399 Commodore Drive, has been neglected by its owner, Obligation Solutions, based in Weston, Florida, in recent years. In May, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said there were nearly $400,000 in liens placed on the property because of maintenance work done by the county due to a lack of response from the owner.
The Pinellas County Commission voted to purchase the property at its Jan. 14 meeting for $1.2 million, and plans on turning it into a regional stormwater park.
According to a Dec. 19 Facebook post by Save Baypointe Golf Course, an organization dedicated to preventing the future development of the property, “SBGC is pleased to announce that Pinellas County has entered into and signed a contract to purchase the Baypointe Golf Course from the owner of record for the last five years! They expect to close in 90 days after a ‘due diligence period.’ Going forward in the new year, the county will be working with us to help plan and develop a new Baypointe green space! Five years ago, our group began working on our vision to protect and preserve this precious property. Today we can celebrate the first step in realizing our dream.”
Meanwhile, Wheelock Communities and Gentry Land have expressed interest in purchasing and developing Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club, 8001 Cumberland Road, which remains open and active.
Last spring, Matt Call, who leads Gentry’s land development team, said their proposed redevelopment would include both residential and commercial components, and that they planned to ask the county to allow 800 to 1,200 new residential units on the property. No development plans have been submitted yet.
In a Dec. 13 statement provided to TBN via email, Call said, "Things are taking longer than initially anticipated, as is often the case with complex projects like this. However, the Wheelock team continues to be engaged on the project, and we are focused on creating a site proposal that benefits the entire community.”
Stacey Phillips Pitts and Clinton Wilson, two members of the board of directors of Save Bardmoor, an organization dedicated to protecting the open space land use designation at the golf club, are surprised that no development application has been submitted yet.
“It feels like we’ve been in a bit of a waiting game here and it has dragged on longer than we would have originally thought,” Wilson said.
Pitts added, “When this was first announced, we jumped on it. We organized and rallied support very quickly. We are surprised we haven’t had an application, but we’re pleased.”