Article Courtesy of Ponte Vedra
By Samantha Logue
Published September 10, 2017
Pending approval from St. Johns County, Oak Bridge Club owner David Miller
brought a comprehensive overview of his development proposal for the property
before the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition Monday, Aug. 28.
“I realize it’s a thorny issue, but it’s
an issue we all must address and deal with, otherwise the
options are horrific,” Miller said of his plan, which
includes adding a new age-restricted community (55 years and
older) to the Sawgrass neighborhood off of A1A.
Located at 254 Alta Mar Drive, Oak Bridge currently features
an 18-hole golf course, a tennis court and the recently
opened 3 Palms Grille restaurant. While the tennis court and
the restaurant recently underwent improvements, Miller
contended that the golf course is also in dire need of
reparations, which will cost more than $2 million.
“When we foreclosed on the golf course, along with the
tennis court, swimming facility and the restaurant, it was
losing collectively about $55,000 a month,” Miller said.
“So, we had to determine, ‘What are we going to do? Do we
let this thing go foul, or do we try to resurrect it?’”
Until recently, Miller’s plans for renovating the course
were hindered by a land use restriction – set in place by
previous ownership and the Sawgrass Players Club Homeowners
Association – which required that the golf course remain a
golf course until 2023. In February, the Sawgrass Players
Club voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the
restriction on 40 acres of the course so that they could be
sold, and extending the restriction on the remainder of the
course through Jan. 1, 2057.
“We had overwhelming support from TPC Sawgrass HOA members,”
Miller said. “It was uncanny. I think the TPC HOA brass that
are in here have never seen a turnout like that.”
The Oak Bridge Club patio
The proposed development plan specifies that half of the
40 acres of land would be sold to a developer and the other half designated
for green space, lakes and recreation. The sale of the land would shorten
the length of the golf course, reducing the total number of holes from 18 to
12. Miller said that this new hole number would be a selling point.
“Golf among the millennials, they don’t have the attention span for [18
holes],” Miller explained. “Courses getting constructed now are of 10, 11,
12-hole configurations, and you can still keep it really engaging and
Two of the proposed parcels of land (A1 and A2) would include approximately
15 developable acres for a senior living community with a maximum of 330
residences. Parcel A1 would be for single-story residences (maximum building
height of 24 feet), while building on Parcel A2 would be three stories
(maximum height of 58 feet).
A third parcel (Parcel B) along A1A would be developed for either 15,000
square feet of commercial use, or as an extension of Parcels A1 and A2 for
additional residences or amenities (maximum height of 58 feet). The proposal
also outlines a potential ingress from Parcel B to Sawgrass Village Drive
for easy access.
Parcel C, consisting of 17.5 acres adjacent to portions of Cypress Creek,
Oak Bridge and Water Oak, would not be developed, but would include either a
lake or green space view. Parcel D, located between Bridgewater Island and
Parcel A1, would not be developed.
“The $2 million guaranteed at the sale would be dropped into escrow,” Miller
said, “and the deployment of that $2 million minimum to go into the golf
course to revamp the remaining 12 holes will be overseen by the PGA Tour.”
Now that he has secured the support of the Sawgrass Players Club, Miller
still needs to obtain the approval of St. Johns County. Pending the
necessary approvals, Miller has focused his efforts on gaining the support
of the public.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a decision of the community,” he
said. “What does the community desire? What will the community support? What
will the community embrace?”
As far as Miller is concerned, his goal is not merely to revitalize a
neglected golf course, but to preserve an often overlooked piece of local
“I’ve only been here 10 years, but I hear that this course, this club and
this area had a heyday—a social heyday, a golf heyday, a tennis heyday and
they had big lines out the door for brunch,” he said. “It was vibrant, but
it died off under poor management. I believe we can get it vibrant again.”