North Lakeland’s 90-year-old Wedgewood golf course has been sold to developers who propose to build nearly 1,400 homes – including more than 1,100 apartments – on the 117-acre property south of Lake Gibson.
Mulberry-based SJD Development LLC purchased the golf course Dec. 15 for $4.5 million from Kanes Golf of Florida LLC, owned by Sun Shin, according to Polk County Property Appraisers Office records.
Prior to the registration of the sale, a Development Application and Project Review Application was filed in November on behalf of Jonathon Hall of SHD Properties, which has the same Church Street address in Mulberry as SJD Development.
The proposed Gibson Trails project underwent initial reviews by city planners in December and went to a development review board on April 12. The next step is to send mail notifications to surrounding landowners, which must be sent no later than Friday.
The proposal is expected to go to the city’s planning and zoning board for a public hearing on May 17 and a final vote on June 21. It could then be submitted to the municipal commission in July and be approved in August.
A 10-page Wedgewood vision document presented to city planners by the Lakeland and Orlando offices of engineering firm Kimley-Horn outlines the proposed 117-acre redevelopment of the golf course’s ‘segmented developable area’ of Wedgewood.
The preliminary “residential infill” proposal includes 11 parcels. Among them are:
- Five multi-family plots containing three apartment complexes totaling 1,028 units
- Four plots where 204 townhouses can be built
- A 16-lot single-family development on 7,200 square feet of land
- A plot designated as a service residence with 150 apartments
In the draft site plan, the five multi-family parcels span 53 acres. The plan calls for a 316-unit complex on a 16.5-acre parcel, a 140-unit complex on 8.6 acres, and a 572-unit complex on three combined parcels totaling 28 acres. All three will have four-story buildings, but the number of structures is not stipulated.
The four townhouse parcels collectively total 40 acres and, as depicted on the preliminary site plan, all envision two-story homes on 1,600 square foot lots. The four are: 48 units on 9.4 acres; 51 units on 9.2 acres; 37 units on 9 acres; and 68 units on 11.2 acres.
The 8.28-acre plot designated for the 150-unit assisted living facility would have four-story buildings and could house up to 180 units.
The introduction of the Gibson Trails Project Application for Review, filed November 17, 2021, said the golf course was losing money and the area needed housing.
“Many golf courses have reached a point where they are no longer profitable to operate as a golf course and in many cases, like Wedgewood, they are actually losing money,” he says. “For this reason, many of them are reassigned to residential communities; this is what we propose for Wedgewood.
In preliminary reviews in December, planners cited numerous problems with early iterations of the proposed development, which is not unusual in the early stages of a proposal, especially one of this size.
To meet projected increases in water and sewer demand, a “hydraulic assessment” is required to determine if there is capacity in the existing water supply and sewage collection system “to accept the additional flows created with this development,” say the planners, noting, “The Wedgewood lift station cannot accommodate any additional flows.
Lakeland’s lead planner, Todd Vargo, said the proposal would require the approval of three overarching plan amendments and a major change to its planned unit development (PUD) land use and zoning rights from origin.
“It is strongly suggested that neighborhood charrette/vision meetings take place with current residents of Carpenters Way. Please hold these meetings prior to the public hearing for the Global Plan Amendments and the Major PUD Amendment,” Vargo wrote.
The city’s transport and development review manager, Charles Barmby, said the project will result in a “major traffic study” which will include “an operational analysis of Carpenters Way in the development area…to coordinate turn lane improvements, if necessary, at each street connection”.
Barmby said the proposed Gibson Trails development will include the long-planned extension of Lakeland Park Drive.
Developers and planners “will need to have separate discussions regarding the alignment, right-of-way dedications and construction of the Lakeland Park Drive extension as part of a traffic mitigation package,” it said. he writes.
The soon-to-be-completed Lakeland Park Drive extension will feature a 10-foot-wide paved multi-use pathway along its north side, providing a direct connection to Lakeland Park Center and the park-and-ride/transit transfer center associated. , the review continues.
And then Barmby writes: “It should be noted that the city is looking for a Brightline/High-Speed Rail station location in Lakeland, including near the US 98 interchange, and will seek assistance from landlords / nearby property developers in this effort. which apparently includes SJD Development.
He said SJD Development had to respond “How will the existing Carpenters Way arch be affected by the proposed development plan?” and “confirm that the new connections to Carpenters Way and the Lakeland Park Drive extension comply” with the city’s land use planning code.
As with Vargo, Barmby urges SJD to meet their neighbors.
“It is strongly recommended that the development team hold outreach meetings with nearby HOAs and residents to hear and address initial concerns,” he wrote.
The city’s public works department said it was concerned about “anticipated conflicts with the existing gas line along the Lakeland Park Drive corridor,” but the development could respond to calls “to improve accessibility at Douglas Cook Park at the intersection of Wedgewood Estate Blvd. and the Fenton Lane Junction.
According to the state corporations division, SJD Development was established in August 2020. It not only shares the same Mulberry address as SHD Properties, but the same registered agent, Fredetick Scott House, who serves in that capacity for several dozen Florida companies.
SJD Development lists Scott House, a Fort Lauderdale-based real estate agent and broker with a background in hotel development, as founder and president.
The company describes itself as “a full-service real estate development group focused on prime residential and commercial land development opportunities.”
Redesigned and renamed Wedgewood Golf Course in 1983, the property has been a golf course since 1931 when it opened as William L. Hutcheson Golf Course, part of a 1,700-acre property along the shore south of Lake Gibson owned by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. & Joiners of America for union retirees.
The property was known as “Carpenter’s Home” and the golf course was commonly referred to as Carpenter’s Home Golf Course. It was the second built in Lakeland, after the Cleveland Heights golf course in 1925 and is where generations of local golfers learned to play.
Its 7,000 square foot clubhouse features signed photos of famous golfers who have played there over the years, including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg and Bobby Jones, who allegedly gave his caddy $100, as well as many Detroit Tigers.
Shin purchased the golf course in 2001 for $3.7 million and transferred title for $100 in 2014 to the new Kanes Golf of Florida. The course and its three buildings, including the 7,000 square foot clubhouse, actually sold out more than a decade earlier when they sold for $3.9 million in 1989.
The golf course has been closed for months. His website is still live, but his last Facebook post was on May 20, 2021.