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Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. closed late Wednesday on its purchase of the historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth, with plans to convert it into a whiskey distillery and bucolic visitor attraction.
C.W. Dowdy, one of the two principal owners of the Glen Garden property, and Todd Davenport, the HGC Commercial Real Estate broker who represented F&R in the purchase, verified the closing in separate interviews with the Business Press.
“Just moving on,” said Dowdy, who had acknowledged mixed feelings after controversy over the F&R plan erupted earlier this year from the neighborhood surrounding the golf course, where Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson caddied as youths and Sandra Palmer was notorious for sneaking onto the course at night and learning to play the game.
F&R principals Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson could not immediately be reached Wednesday afternoon.
The Rev. Carl Pointer, one of the southeast Fort Worth leaders who unsuccessfully fought the F&R proposal in a city zoning case, said Wednesday afternoon in an interview, “we’ll make sure we try to be good neighbors, is all we can do now.”
Dowdy and his business partner Malcolm Tallman bought Glen Garden nine years ago. They closed the golf course Dec. 10, in preparation for the closing of the sale.
The City Council earlier this year approved a rezoning of the site to allow the distillery and related uses.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this fall helped the F&R plan clear another obstacle to buying the 100-year-old club course, dismissing several protests against a permit for the distillery. The TABC examiner found no legal reason to move forward with a formal hearing.
In fighting the distillery, neighborhood leaders and homeowners said they don’t want it nestled into their neighborhood and near churches, and fear drunken driving incidents, noise, traffic and other nuisances.
They also fear the loss of history; F&R isn’t obligated under the zoning case and subsequent required site plan to retain any of the golf holes. Firestone and Robertson have said they may retain a limited number of holes around a visitors center they plan to build overlooking a lake.
F&R was originally due to close on the $3 million purchase Oct. 12, but it had two one-month options and exercised both.
Firestone and Robertson told the Business Press in October they anticipated the first phase of construction could start next year. Firestone and Robertson said during the rezoning process that they expected to invest $15 million in the property, including building a distillery, visitors center, aging barns and, eventually, lodging.
The facility would offer tastings, tours and special event bookings, much like F&R’s popular Near Southside facility in Fort Worth that the company has nearly outgrown. F&R would produce whiskey from both facilities. Retail sales, under state law, would be limited to two bottles per month per adult; the rest would have to be sold through distributors.
Coldwell Banker Commercial Search Vasseur Group, Gary Vasseur agent, represented the sellers.