North Port Golf Course Redevelopment Looms


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 6, 2017 – A parcel of 207-plus acres in North Port that was formerly home to the Sabal Trace Golf & Country Club may soon be redeveloped and thus bring some added pep to Sarasota homes for sale clustered around this property.

Its 18-hole golf links have been idle and overgrown for more than two years after the club was closed in May 2015. This after its original owner, Charlotte Golf Partners, defaulted on a mortgage loan with Wells Fargo, and this property just off north of U.S. 41 was foreclosed.

Three Suitors, One Winner

GNP Development Partners of Tampa

A foreclosure auction called in July initially had local developer Sam Rodgers as the winner with his $2.7 million bid. Rodgers backed out later and the second highest bidder, Zuckerman Homes, also withdrew its $2.1 million bid. Both cited the high cost of remediation of environmental problems related to how Sabal Trace’s golf courses are fertilized as the reason for their withdrawal.

A third buyer, Mark Gerenger of GNP Development Partners of Tampa, has immediately come forward though and has signed a purchase agreement for $1.5 million and paid a deposit. Gerenger, GNP Development’s managing partner, has also tapped an engineering firm to remediate the Sabal Trace links’ environmental issue. Closing on the deal on the Sabal Trace golf course is set this October.

In June 2016, Gerenger’s GNP Development sought to buy Sabal Trace’s mortgage note from Wells Fargo. In announcing this plan last year, Gerenger disclosed that they intend to build in the property a nine-hole executive golf course, a clubhouse and new driving range, plus 200–300 single-family residences that sure would further boost market selections of Sarasota homes for sale.

Recreational Element

The Sabal Trace property is zoned commercial recreational, and as such, any redevelopment must have a recreational component, though not necessarily a golf course. Gerenger now indicated it is still too early to specify what that component would be.

What’s certain is that GNP Development would have to rally support from the Sabal Trace Homeowners Alliance representing some 1,200 residents of homes built around the golf course. In 2015, some residents floated the possibility of the city of North Port buying the golf club, which has become a local icon since its establishment as the city’s first golf course in the early 1970s. An initiative for a city purchase, however, didn’t gain traction.

Eclectic Community

Sabal Trace

The golf community around Sabal Trace is comprised of several neighborhoods developed with single family estate homes, villas and condos. Its residences were mostly built during the 1980s.

Deed-restricted, this community features relatively newer construction in its two-phased Villas of Sabal Trace where national builder Lennar started construction in 2001. Most of its home sites are near the golf course and a lake, sought-after features among Sarasota homes for sale. Typical sales listings in this neighborhood have floor areas of close to 1,500 square feet designed with two bedrooms and two baths, with asking prices in the low $200s.

As attractively priced are the condos of Colony at Sabal Trace where available units start from around the mid-$100s, featuring living areas of 1,168 square feet with two-bedroom layouts. Single family homes for sale in Sabal Trace typically come with floor plans of between 1,700 and 2,400 square feet in three- to four-bedroom configurations offered in the $200s–$300s range.