A sale agreement has neighbors worried their grassy views will become a construction site.
SEMINOLE — While single, lawyer Matthew Sullivan lived in a villa overlooking the Bardmoor golf course in Pinellas County. He liked the pastoral view so much there was little doubt what would happen when he married and started a family: He and his wife, Jennifer, bought a house on the 12th fairway.
Eight years later, the Sullivans still love what amounts to an enormous back yard. Their kids romp on grass that stretches as far as the eye can see. At night, the family walks among the pines and oaks where eagles nest. It’s country living in the middle of Florida’s most densely populated county.
All that could change.
The owner of the 150-acre Bardmoor course has agreed to sell it to Wheelock Communities and Gentry Land, the companies that developed the huge Starkey Ranch in Pasco County. From what little the companies have said about their plans for Bardmoor, indications are that they consider new housing — not fairways and greens — a far better use for a prime swath of land.
“Pinellas is unique in that there is not a lot of new construction,” said Reed Berlinsky, Gentry’s president.
Where Genry and Wheelock see a “possible master-planned community,” however, Bardmoor residents see plunging property values, loss of open space and the demise of a beloved course that has hosted high school teams, PGA champions and countless charity functions.
On Monday, the developers held a meeting at a nearby church to listen to comments from homeowners and discuss potential features of the new community. About 100 people were expected to attend. By the time the doors opened, more than 250 were in line, some in “Save Bardmoor” T-shirts, almost all of them angry and vowing to fight the closing of the course.
“I don’t want my children’s memories to be of nails and construction while they’re destroying this place,” Jennifer Sullivan said.