Developer looks to buy now-closed Sunset Golf Course in Hollywood

CD Development Group of Hialeah holds lease on property, explores option to buy it


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A developer who is setting his sights on the now-closed Sunset Golf Course is leaving some neighbors teed off.

It's a growing trend in Florida as more and more struggling golf course owners are trading their greens for green.

People living near the Sunset Golf Course in Hollywood call the 46-acre site an island of serenity in their sea of suburbia.

"It's a little oasis in the middle of Hollywood," said resident Sarah Rein.

A mere mention of possibly developing the green space, located north of Johnson Street and just east of Interstate 95, is making serious waves.

"It's gonna cause a lot of added traffic that we don't need," said Rein.

"Flooding, traffic, just the loss of green space in general is damaging to the community," said resident Max Soren.

The CD Development Group of Hialeah holds a lease on the property and is exploring an option to buy it -- if it can build homes there. The site plan given to residents shows 250 rental units, 150 single family houses.

No plans have been submitted to the city and there are no requests to change the zoning or land use either, but a group of neighbors wants to nip the notion in the bud. There are already dozens of yard signs all over the city. Their Facebook page has more than 400 likes.

It's true that fewer people are playing golf and that's putting many -- particularly smaller courses -- out of business.

According to the Professional Golfers' Association of America, in 2012, 154 U.S. Golf courses closed. Florida has more golf courses than any other state: 1050. Right now on LoopNet.com, there are 19 golf courses in Florida for sale.

Developers see all that golf course green space has prime real estate for building homes.

Real estate attorney Andrew Tarr explains if the developer buys the land, he'll have a legal right to develop it to its highest and best use, but only within the city's current zoning regulation.

"The municipality itself is not obligated to abide by whatever wishes the property owner has," said Tarr. "And in making decisions where a municipality is going to consider a change, they are going to take into consideration and have an open hearing for the neighbors to come in and voice their concerns."

In a statement to Local 10, an attorney for the developer said, "We haven't even filed an application yet. We are still in the planning stages and look forward to working with the city and the community to formulate the best plan for this site."

"This is directly affecting the quality of life for a lot of people who live here," said Rein, "and you know, we don't have to allow that to happen."

The opponents are hosting a community meeting Thursday night at the Hollywood Rotary Club to discuss their next move. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.