The owners of the former Country Club of Carrollwood, now called Emerald Greens, wants to build condos instead of a hotel on the site.
By TIM GRANT
Published February 13, 2004
CARROLLWOOD - Noticeable changes are taking place at the former Country Club of Carrollwood.
Its new owners are replacing the golf greens, reopening a once-barricaded access road and preparing to raze the old clubhouse building to make way for a new one.
"There's a lot of action going on," said Col. Frank Phelan, a member of the Carrollwood Village Phase I board of directors.
A key component of the renovation plan also has changed in recent weeks.
The country club's new owners told Phase I board members they have reconsidered the idea of building a 100-room hotel on the property. Instead, the owners believe it might be more profitable to build a 50-unit time-share condominium complex.
Like the hotel idea, the condominium proposal will need rezoning approval before it can be a reality. Community support is critical.
"What we have is a promise from Frank Hayden not to move forward until every issue has been thoroughly discussed with the homeowners," said Dick Woltmann, president of the Phase I board.
Hayden leads a group of investors who recently bought the club for $3.75-million and renamed it the Emerald Greens Golf and Country Club at Carrollwood. They've pledged to spend about $5-million on renovations.
Membership at the club has steadily declined as its facilities have aged and its 27-hole golf course suffered years of neglect.
The number of golf memberships at the club reached an all-time low of 130 in December. Club manager Katie Gardner said 293 new members recently joined while the club was waiving the initiation fee.
"The neighborhood is crying for this type of facility," Gardner said. "We've received tremendous support from the community."
Phelan said the members appreciate the energy that's driving the long overdue improvements, even though they might be inconvenienced during construction. While they build the new clubhouse, staff will work out of modular buildings. Members also will use modular buildings to eat and drink on the property.
In addition to the time-share condominiums, the grand plan for the country club includes a luxurious day spa and 56 townhomes on the golf course.
Woltmann said the club's owners have hired consultants to address traffic and drainage concerns before filing any rezoning petitions. Most recently, the owners removed a berm on Clubhouse Drive so they can reopen the road if necessary. The private road through the country club now can be reached only from N Village Drive.
Woltmann said the homeowners also have hired consultants to help them in dealing with the club. They want to be sure the changes they make are in the neighbors' best interest.
"If we agree with the club's plans and we feel we can support them, we are going to want to be assured that there is no future development after this," Woltmann said.
"We want to limit and prohibit any future development after we agree on these plans."