EAST COUNTY — They have been called the Over the Hill Gang, but these original homeowners feel like they did 20 years ago; they still feel at home as the community they live in changes.
“A lot has changed, but nothing has changed,” said Nancy Kramlick, who has lived in the Rosedale Golf & Country Club with her husband, Thomas, and near her close friends, Karl and Edie Bender, since 1993.
“Twenty years in, the community has the same feeling, and we have the same feeling about it.”
The Rosedale Golf & Country Club turns 20 this month, and, as the Kramlicks and Benders sit on a curb on their cul-de-sac street, they see the same people.
In its 20 years of life, 20 couples have lived here the entire time, most of them on this street, 54th Avenue East — in the “estate homes,” as they call them. But, they’re more homey than grandiose.
Malcolm and Harriet Rouse, who are not part of the Over the Hill Gang, are in their own league, having built three homes here in 20 years at Rosedale.
From their stoop on the curb, the foursome thinks back from then to now.
They see the same lush trees that greet people as they drive through Rosedale’s 24/7-manned gatehouse.
They remember the wild pigs and the pig roasts they used to have before Rosedale staff members stopped them.
They remember outside the gates — how the six-lane State Road 70 used to be two lanes, how they rarely ventured outside the gates to visit the only restaurant around, Denny’s.
“When the gates closed, we stayed,” said Thomas Kramlick, the first member of the Rosedale Golf Club, who will plant an honorary tree during anniversary festivities this week. “We had no reason to leave.”
When, in 1989, Robert Hunt, founder of the Hunt Group, Rosedale’s developer, purchased the original 335 acres of the community, he envisioned an alternative to Lakewood Ranch.
“We’re more quaint than the Ranch,” said Patrick Hogan, vice president of the Hunt Group. “Our people are looking for something low-key, comfortable and small. We’re not ostentatious. It’s a friendly community.”
The first Rosedale residents came in 1993; the first development in Lakewood Ranch would begin being built a year later.
The Hunt Group knew Lakewood Ranch would be a big draw; it sought to combat that.
“I come from a family involved in building homes, so I’m keen to look for certain things,” Thomas Kramlick said. “The houses here look better. You look at the overhang of the roof, and it’s quality. It’s bigger. I don’t know why it’s better. You can just see it.”
Over seven years, the Kramlicks had made deposits on other lots around the state but backed out.
By the time they had chosen their Rosedale lot, the retiring couple from upstate New York had toured half the state.
The Kramlicks bought their 2,100-square-foot home without visiting a model. They only had a printout; the sales office at the time was a trailer on an undeveloped lot.
“I would have taken anything at a point,” Thomas Kramlick said. “I just wanted somewhere to golf. Then, we came through these gates. My wife said, ‘This is it.’ They put us in a golf cart and drove us around. We felt comfortable.”
The Hunt Group developed the community slowly but steadily, waiting out slow dips in the economy and scrapping projects that didn’t work.
By 1995, the clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool and fitness center opened.
The Kramlicks and Benders remember the first nine golf holes being here before then, in 1994.
“We used to call it the bowling alley,” Karl Bender said. “You could collect 100 balls on a walk. But, for hackers like me, it was always comfortable because no one judged anybody or said anything.”
Also in 1995, the Hunt Group developed 30 attached homes, a clump of multi-family homes, also known as villas, called Westbury.
“That was a mistake, and we haven’t returned to that arena since,” said Matthew Bornstein, director of sales for Rosedale Realty, the sales arm of the Hunt Group. “We realized that wasn’t acceptable in the market place, so we went back to patio homes.”
Bornstein refers to Rosedale’s stable of patio homes as sophisticated, single-family homes with open cement space to the side of the house, outside a sliding-glass door.
There are lots of those in the Highland neighborhood, part of the additional 104 acres the Hunt Group bought from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch in 1995, to build 204 single-family homes.
These are pricier, selling from $400,000 to more than $1 million.
By 2005, developers closed on 237 acres adjacent to Rosedale’s Highland neighborhood, north of Malachite Drive and south of the 44th Avenue extension.
The land would become nine more holes of golf plus some homes.
But then, the economy froze. The land stayed undeveloped.
This year, those 237 acres, the Rosedale Links, have come under construction. Once finished, they will hold 445 single-family homes.
The Rosedale Links golf course was never built.
The Hunt Group brought in outside builders — M/I Homes, Ashton Woods Homes and John Cannon Homes — for the first time. They join Rosedale Construction.
Some of the homes have two stories, meant to attract younger families.
“Things change,” Karl Bender said. “You never know.”
But the feeling inside the gates hasn’t changed. Neither have the people on the cul-de-sac.
“We don’t have family near. But we have each other,” Edie Bender said.
• Developer The Hunt Group purchases first 335 acres.
• The community opens, and the first residents begin living in homes.
• First nine holes of golf open.
• The Hunt Group purchases 104 acres from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and builds 204 more homes.
• Clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool and fitness center open.
• Developer builds 30 attached homes (villas) called Westbury. The Hunt Group never builds attached home.
By the numbers
3- number of homes built in Rosedale by Malcolm and Harriet Rouse, a couple who has lived in the community all 20 years
12- number of homes up for resale
32- number of new home sales in Rosedale Links so far
20- number of couples who have lived in Rosedale all 20 years
660- total number of homes
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].