The History of Hillcrest is on this website. Now we can talk about the future of Hillcrest. The Hillcrest Golf and Country Club used to be a great gathering place for the wealthy snowbirds who dominated Hillcrest. Hillcrest also had a large recreation center called the Playdium with a gym, men and women’s locker rooms, saunas, whirlpools, a beauty salon and an auditorium that hosted movie nights and seasonal musicals. As the demographics changed over time and 11 of the 24 buildings changed their by-laws to become all-age buildings rather than over-55 restricted, the Playdium became little used and is now a charter school called Championship Academy that can accommodate up to 850 students from grades kindergarten to 8th.
As for our beloved Hillcrest Golf and Country Club, it suffered the fate of many other golf courses around the country and became more of a place to hold weddings and other events. According to Dean Harwell in a March 2015 article for the Washington Post entitled Why America Fell Out Of Love With Golf, “The number of Americans who said they played golf at least once last year has fallen to one of its lowest point in years, Sports & Fitness Industry Association data show. Even worse for the sport’s future: The number of young people, aged 18 to 30, playing the game has sagged nearly 35 percent over the last decade.”
In a nutshell, the 9-hole Executive Golf course covenant was lifted in 2009 allowing the Pipefitter’s Union to build residences. Hillcrest had been built for 3000 units back in the day but stopped at 2,355 when the market changed. The Union planned to sell to a developer who would not only build townhomes and low rise condos on the 9-hole course but would also to tear down the Country Club building and build a twin 13-story high rise condo with a golf club to accommodate golfers who wanted to play the 18-hole golf course.
Then the real estate market shifted – many would say crashed – and there was no market for new construction especially condos. The Pipefitter’s Union struggled to keep the Club profitable and let the 9-hole golf course lay idle. Then in 2015, Concord Wilshire bought the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club and once again asked the residents to vote on lifting a covenant – this time on the 18-hole golf course and were successful.
Fast forward to 2016 – after numerous meetings and negotiations with the Hillcrest residents and the city and country review processes complete, Concord Wilshire sold the project to Pulte Homes, the nation’s largest homebuilding company.
The deal with Hillcrest is that Pulte will build 66 acres of Park with lakes and walking trails behind the current condo buildings for the exclusive use of Hillcresters. 305 single family lots will be built on the 18-hole golf course and 345 townhome lots on the 9-hole golf course. Two clubhouses will be built on the site of the old Country Club – one will serve all Hillcresters and one will be for the exclusive use of the new homeowners. The development will be called PARKVIEW AT HILLCREST. A Compliance Committee was formed to act as a liaison between the development team and the residents and the newspaper Inside Hillcrest will also keep everyone updated on any issues that arise.
Andrew Maxey is the Land Project Manager for the South Florida Market of Pulte Homes. If anyone has any questions for Andrew, he will be glad to answer them. You can email your questions and/or comments to info@ATeamFlorida.com. You will receive an answer within 24 hours and we will publish the questions and answers on this website.
An early concern was about the trees that have been removed. The Compliance Committee contacted Dale Bryant, the person in charge of landscaping development for the City of Hollywood. His response: “There are approved landscape plans for the entire development that will be implemented, but likely after earthwork is complete and toward the end of construction. Many of the trees were either exotic prohibited species or in conflict with the new grading and site improvements and there are new trees planned to replace those removed as the construction progresses.”
As of today’s date, August 25, 2016, the lakes and landscaping on the old 9-hole course now called the “north course” has commenced. Temporary fencing has been set up around the work area. The Country Club will be razed and work started on the new clubhouses. Full land redevelopment has commenced. We will see big yellow equipment digging the lakes. The earthwork and landscaping along Hillcrest drive should be complete by October barring weather issues. There will be construction roadway closures and MOT (maintenance of traffic) issues. The streetscape along Hillcrest Drive will be a priority, however, so although there will be some inconvenience with minor road closures, they will work diligently to get it done as quickly as possible. Andrew will report on the minor road closures moving forward. The Model Grand Opening is projected for March of 2017 with the roads, models completed and the start of production. There will be tennis courts, Bocce ball courts and a SNAG golf area for the use of all Hillcrest residents.
We have set up time-lapse cameras to monitor the progress and will have pictures on this website in the next couple of weeks.