Pebble Creek Golf Club opened in 1967, long before New Tampa as we know it was developed.

The letters went out last weekend, but were probably not a surprise to anyone living in Pebble Creek.

The golf course, the oldest one in the area, is shutting down for good on July 31.

Pebble Creek Golf Club (PCGC) owner Bill Place, who has been trying for years to sell the 6,436-yard golf course he bought in 2005, says he can’t continue losing money on something with no future. After a few failed attempts to finalize a deal with developers the past few years, as well as unsuccessfully trying late last year to get a brownfield designation from the county that would have helped cover almost 3/4 of the cost to decontaminate the soil, Place says he was out of options.

The club, heading into what is usually its slowest time of the year from August through October, currently has only 13 full-time members. 

“Even though we had a little bit of a bump from Covid-19, I’ve already started to see it back off as people go back to work,” Place said. “We’re on a path to to repeat 2018 and 2019, when we lost money those years.”

Place also said merely maintaining the course had become financially untenable. Built in 1967, he says the course still has its original irrigation system and “it failed miserably during this recent drought.

“It was time.”

Place says he has quietly told brokers in the last six years he was looking to sell the golf course. After having his brownfield designation rejected in December 2020, Place has continued entertaining suitors.

DR Horton, one of the original interested buyers of the PCGC, had done preliminary testing two years ago and discovered contaminants on the golf course before withdrawing its interest. A brownfield site is a property that is contaminated, which hinders efforts to expand or redevelop it. But there are significant tax credits offered to help clean the property up. 

Without those tax credits, Place will likely foot the bill. He has paid $150,000 to have the site tested by an environmental testing firm, and expects results this week. A preliminary estimate, he says, indicated it would then take 6-9 months to decontaminate the soil. That could cost Place $1 million.

But he has potential developers lined up — he will choose one in the next two months — and says he is including the two Pebble Creek homeowners associations, who serve roughly 1,300 homeowners, in the process. Regardless, he expects a significant number of residents to protest when rezoning the 149-acre property gets underway.

“No matter what, we are trying every which way we can to work with the HOAs,” Place says. “I know they would rather have the golf course, but we are looking for the best possible solution.”

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