LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – With demand for housing in central Florida surging and golf courses declining, “the green” has become prime real estate for developers.
People who live nearby want a mulligan.
“Don’t like it in the least bit. The road’s going right behind my house so that means I’ve got cars shining in my bedroom window every night,” said Jennifer Watson, who lives in the “Fairfield on the Tee” development.
“We thought we’d be here the next 20 years,” said John Kochenburger, who lives next door. “We didn’t really want to live in a construction zone so we’re at a point now where we’re debating – do we want to sell?”
They are concerned with the transformation happening at the former Wedgewood Golf Course site.
The golf course first opened in 1931.
“They were losing money from what I heard and they haven’t maintained it like it should be but it was still nice to have a golf course in the backyard,” said Kochenburger.
It closed in April after being purchased for $4.5 million by developers in December.
“We know the golf course is failing. We know it doesn’t look that great. How do we take it and really revitalize the neighborhood?” said Jonathan Hall, a partner at Ronin Assets.
Hall and his father, John Hall – a former county commissioner, plan to build more than 1,400 housing units on the property, which was purchased by SJD Development LLC. The development will include apartments, townhomes and single-family dwellings.
“We’re going to repurpose the old golf cart path, almost in the same spots. We’re going to go to a 12-foot wide asphalt path and make it more of a walking park for the entire community to be able to use it,” said Hall.
The project will require some zone changes, which will be considered by the Lakeland Planning and Zoning Board on May 17.
Hall said a traffic study was conducted as well.
“We’d like to propose an extension of Lakeland Park Drive to help ease some of that traffic, realign part of Wedgewood Boulevard.”