(BELLEAIR, FL) N ot a man to make snap decisions, Chris Wheeler says he nevertheless knew immediately that the new community of Belleview Place was right for him. “I am the ultimate guy of thinking things through – to the point I may miss out on opportunities,” he said. “So when this one came up, I thought, ‘I’ll think it through, but not procrastinate.’ I’ve known others who could have gotten in on the ground floor of various opportunities, but waited too long. I thought, ‘That’s not going to be me!’” Still, the decision was far from hasty. The affable former broadcaster and current ambassador for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club has been traveling to Clearwater with the team every year since 1972. Over time the spring training camp has become a second home. “When you’ve gone to a place for 46 years, there’re no mysteries,” he said, explaining how his familiarity with the area cemented his decision. “I love the area. I have a tremendous comfort level there. “And I always thought if I’m lucky enough to be able to, I’m not going to be cold,” he added from his home in Blue Bell, Penn. “When this opportunity came along, that sold it. It all fits like a glove.” Wheeler has been a seasonal member of Belleair Country Club during the Phillies’ spring training, and is looking forward to permanent membership in 2018. The club is just across the street from the 130-home community that sits on the site of
the iconic former Belleview Biltmore Hotel. That proximity is how he first learned of plans for the condominium and carriage homes and the transformation of a section of the historic hotel into a boutique hotel, the Belleview Inn. He said when he heard it was going to be developed by JMC Communities, “I thought, ‘OK, that’s good. I know JMC. When they build something they’re going to build it, and build it right.’” JMC has created 24 award-winning communities and hotels, including Sandpearl Resort & Residences on Clearwater Beach, Ovation in downtown St. Petersburg and the Bellamy in Tampa. Wheeler purchased a two-bedroom/two-bath residence with den in the first mid-rise building at Belleview Place, now under construction and expected to be completed by mid-2018. “It overlooks the second green of the west course and looks right up Clearwater Bay. In some places, you get one or the other; here, I’m getting both. That’s a heck of a deal. I know the golf course so well, I can just picture the views,” he said. “Being up on the bluff helps, too.” “And that’s another thing – that high up on the bluff means there’s no flood insurance. If it gets flooded you got big problems – but that’s not going to happen there.” “I really love the idea of the underbuilding private garage, too” he added. “You’re out of the elements, and you can store golf gear and other things there.” Wheeler said he never considered or looked
at another community, “I’d been thinking about moving to Clearwater for years. So when I saw who the builder was and where it was, I said the time has come. I ran all my options and I haven’t looked back. I’m very confident it’s a worthwhile decision.” Belleview Place, condominium and carriage homes from mid-$600s to $1.7 million; 275 Belleview Blvd., Belleair, FL 33756; BelleviewPlace.com; 727-469-7070. Tampa Bay Gulf of Mexico TAMPA ST. PETERSBURG CLEARWATER AREA OF DETAIL 60 19 275 60 19 ALT SAND KEY CLEARWATER BEACH BELLEAIR BELLEVIEW PLACE S. Ft. Harrison Belleview Blvd. Belleview Place ‘Fits Like a Glove’ “There was no second choice.” — Philadelphia Phillies club ambassador Chris Wheeler about his decision to purchase a home in Belleview Place. The beautiful west course of the Belleair Country Club fronts Clearwater Bay and is included in Belleair’s designation as a bird sanctuary. Chris Wheeler, avid golfer and club ambassador for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. © Belleview Place, LLC 2014 A Golf Course of Many Legends Florida’s first golf course, established 1897 W hen Henry Plant conceived the idea of a resort on the site of Belleview Place, he included plans for numerous diversions to assure wealthy Northerners of non-stop amusement, including tennis, biking, horseback riding and fine golfing. Of course, “fine golfing” carried a different meaning in 1897, and the course (hailed as Florida’s first) sported just six holes whose obstacles included greens surfaced with crushed seashells. The fairways also presented challenges, as they were covered with rough indigenous grass. By 1915 the amenity had expanded to two 18- hole par 71 courses of truly fine grass, grandly designed by renowned course architect Donald J. Ross, whose layout remains intact today. The course has been played by celebrities, presidents and monarchs from around the world. Among the few waterside courses in the area, the course — now part of Belleair Country Club — includes a driving range, practice chipping and putting greens, a pro shop and full-time PGA professionals teaching golf to all ages. Best of all, it’s just steps away from homes in Belleview Place.