Hombre Golf Course owner looking to develop back nine holes

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - A Panama City Beach developer is looking to build dozens of high-end homes near the heart of the city, but it won't be possible without giving up nine holes of his landmark golf course.

"Financially it's hard for any golf course to maintain 27 holes," George Roberts said.

Roberts bought the Hombre Golf Course off Back Beach Road last August. He is looking to develop the back nine holes known as "The Good" into a high-end housing community.

"Without putting lots in there to try and generate some revenue, there's no way to keep all 27 holes open, and the golf course would may have to go away," Roberts said.

The initial plan is build a gated community with custom homes costing up to half a million dollars. Roberts said there's land surrounding the Tierre Verde subdivision for 65 to 70 lots at a minimum of 75 feet each.

"We feel like there will be a good demand for the homes in this area with it being a gated community and different from what's right around here," Roberts said.

The first step is to request that Panama City Beach Planning Board members rezone the land from recreation to residential at their May 8th meeting. The board will then make a recommendation to the city council, which has the final say whether "the Good" stays as is or goes.

If Roberts receives the necessary rezoning approvals, he believes he could break ground on the housing development by the end of the year. He plans to still maintain the remaining 18 holes.

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