Save Green Space: Bardmoor

Wheelock Communities and Gentry Land plan to purchase and redevelop Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club, an open and active golf course, should Pinellas County allow the property to be rezoned. The developers plan to build 800 to 1,200 new residential units on the land as well as a boutique hotel, and retail, restaurant and office space.

It didn’t take long for the residents living near Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club, 8001 Cumberland Rd., to activate once they learned the property’s owner, Bayou Golf LLC, intended to sell the property to developers if they were able to successfully appeal to the county to rezone the land. They immediately created Save Bardmoor, an organization dedicated to saving the property from redevelopment.

Jeff Harring said Bardmoor is an active golf course. As many as 150 golfers come through the course each day; that’s around 1,000 a week, he said.

“This is a successful, viable and important golf course,” he said. “If it goes away, there would be a significant gap in those kinds of services here. They’ll tell you that golf is a dying sport, and if they do, they’re giving you national stats. But in the most densely populated county in the state of Florida, people come here to retire, and people love their golf. They come here to play golf.”

Ivette Arroyo, who has worked at the pro shop at Bardmoor, added, “When you have to turn golfers away because there’s no more room on the golf course, it’s not a dying sport.”

Golfers come from all over the world to golf there, she added. She’s concerned the county will lose “tourism dollars” if Bardmoor were to close.

In addition to golf, Bardmoor also offers tennis, pickleball and swimming.

Bardmoor-area residents have several concerns should the property be redeveloped, Harring said.

First, there are the environmental factors. The wildlife calling the land home would have nowhere to go, he said, and flooding will likely become an issue because the course currently absorbs water from rainstorms.

“We would see massive flooding,” he said. “If you take out 2/3 of the green space, where is [the water] going to go?”

It would also tax local infrastructure, said Phil Day.

“Have you ever tried to drive down Bryan Dairy Road at 8 a.m.? Now, imagine if they add hundreds of homes here,” he said. “That’s potentially 1,000 cars on the road—and that’s likely at a minimum. The traffic is already all piled up.”

Though the companies interested in developing the green space, Wheelock Communities and Gentry Land, can’t say exactly what the project will look like, yet, Matt Call, who leads Gentry’s development team, said there will be both residential and commercial components to it. Housing, especially, is needed in Pinellas County, he added.

“We understand that this isn’t going to be wildly popular, but we know it’s something that’s needed,” he said.

Call said Gentry and Wheelock plan to ask the county for 800 to 1,200 new residential units.

“That would be a wide variety of products,” he said. “You’d have larger homes for executives and then some stuff for like firefighters and nurses and all the public servants, and then you’d also have things for people who live in the area already, who maybe want something smaller, but newer. Maybe their kids are out of the house now and they want to downsize.”

In addition to the new homes, the developer will also include a Village Center with a boutique hotel, office space, an assisted living facility, shops, restaurants and open space.

He said they’re exploring how they might fill the gap left behind by the closure of Bardmoor, he said, but anticipates they would build some public recreational facilities, such as tennis courts or maybe a swimming pool.

Save Bardmoor organizers vow they’ll keep fighting the potential redevelopment and support Bardmoor remaining a golf course.

“I would love if they would keep the tradition of golf and sell to something who will continue to run a golf course,” Day said. “Baypointe is gone. Tides is as close to being gone as possible. Rumors are that other golf clubs are coming on the chopping block. When is it going to end?”