The historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth traded hands late Wednesday to a Fort Worth distillery, but the sale will likely not stop protests from residents in the community that surround the property.
The Rev. Carl Pointer, who has lived in the Rolling Hills neighborhood near Glen Garden for 35 years and opposed the July rezoning to allow the distillery project, said Thursday he is sad to see how vacant and lifeless the 109.4-acre property has become since the golf course closed Dec. 10.
But Pointer said the neighborhood will become a “gauntlet of protesters” and will contest every event planned for the facility that they find out about.
“We really don’t want this,” Pointer said. “We don’t have a whole lot of confidence in what the new owners say. They’re all over the place. We’re going to make sure the grass is cut and protest every event there.”
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Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson, co-owners of Firestone & Robertson Distillery Co., bought the property at 2916 Glengarden Drive from C.W. Dowdy in Keller and Malcolm Tallmon in Fort Worth, two of three investors who acquired it in 2006. The previous owners had taken a $1.4 million mortgage on the property in 2000 with a partnership that included Dowdy, Tallmon and the late Bobby R. Ellis, deed records show.
The distillery, which started making whiskey in 2011, wants to expand its operations to the country club that has been in southeast Fort Worth for 102 years and where golfing legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson learned the game as caddies. The distillery is currently at 901 W. Vickery Blvd., where they say they have 10,000 visitors annually but have outgrown the facilities.
In October, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission declined to hear neighborhood protests of Firestone and Robertson’s permit application. The Glencrest Civic League and others say the distillery will create noise, traffic, ordinance violations and criminal activity.
Firestone and Robertson did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment about their plans now that the land deal has closed. They have told the Star-Telegram they were drawn to the club because of its pastoral setting, which is similar to what is seen along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail or at California vineyards.
As a tourist attraction, the city’s second-oldest country club would be an economic boost to southeast Fort Worth where the company plans to spend millions building a distillery and other buildings. Firestone & Robertson’s TX Whiskey was named “Best American Craft Whiskey” in 2013.
Dowdy said he met with the two men Thursday morning at the golf course to look things over one more time and have a locksmith change all the locks on the property.
“There’s lots of memories out there,” Dowdy said, but added, “Things change.”
A sale price was not disclosed, but Dowdy said he, Tallmon and Ellis’ four heirs have retained mineral rights on the property. The closing had been expected in October.
Todd Davenport of HGC Real Estate in Fort Worth represented the buyers. Davenport said Thursday he did not how quickly Firestone and Robertson would begin working on the property.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727