New developments are reported on the potential land swap between Westwood CC and Audubon Golf Course in Williamsville, N.Y.; the foreclosure of City Club of Gastonia (N.C.), as fallout from the difficulties of Cramer Mountain CC in Cramerton, N.C.; and the failure of a course sale for Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Three financial stories recently reported by Club & Resort Business had new developments this week.
On August 3, C&RB reported that a 10-page proposal for the land swap deal between Westwood Country Club and Williamsville, N.Y.’s Audubon Golf Course was submitted by Mensch Capital Partners (“Westwood CC Submits Land Swap Proposal”).
On August 6, Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein let it be known at a Town Board meeting that he intends to be the lead negotiator on the potential deal, The Buffalo News reported.
“This is public land, public money and public information,” Weinstein said.
The board supported Weinstein’s lead, but Council Member Mark Manna expressed some doubt about Weinstein’s ability to successfully close the deal, adding that he would step forward for an independent deal if the supervisor could not, the News reported.
“Anyone on this board can bring back any item for a vote,” Manna said.
Weinstein estimated that the 170 acres of the Audubon Golf Course is worth $50 million as prime, developable land. The Westwood parcel, he said, may be worth up to $6 million. He added that the proposal extends beyond the golf course and infringes on the Audubon Recreation Complex, including two softball diamonds, five soccer/football fields and the town’s main Parks Department building, the News reported.
Andrew Shaevel, Managing Partner for Mensch Capital Partners, said the group would relocate any affected fields and help the town find new space, adding that those terms could be negotiated. All parties agreed that a tentative agreement would need to be reached by the spring of 2013 for the deal to move forward.
Though Manna said he hopes Weinstein will engage in “open-minded, flexible negotiations,” he said he was not impressed with Weinstein’s ability as a negotiator, and said he would enter into “parallel negotiations” if Weinstein was found to be unreasonable or secretive. Weinstein, in turn, told Manna that he should not be threatening the supervisor, the News reported.
“Everybody needs to take a breath,” said Council Member Guy Marlette. “Let the negotiations begin, and see where we go.”
On August 3, C&RB reported that Cramer Mountain Country Club in Cramerton, N.C., owned by Graham Bell, will commence foreclosure proceedings after defaulting on $3.4 million in loans (“Cramer Mountain CC Faces Foreclosure”). When Cramer Mountain CC closed “temporarily” in July, members were given full dining privileges at The City Club of Gastonia (N.C.), which is also owned by Bell.
The Gaston Gazette then reported on August 7 that The City Club at Gastonia is set to be auctioned on Sept. 26. The 9.5-acre property will be sold in the foreclosure, due to more than $4.3 million being owed on the property by Bell.
Bell heads the Cramer Mountain Country Club Corp., Cramer Mountain Country Club Properties Inc., and 532 New Hope Road Corporation. Bell could avoid foreclosure by catching up on payments or paying the full amount due by Sept. 26. Late fees on the three loans to The City Club of Gastonia total $778.82 per day, the Gazette reported.
The City Club of Gastonia remained open this week.
In July, C&RB reported the initial auction plans and some history of Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. (“Oakhurst Links to Be Put Up for Auction”).
The Associated Press now reports that the $410,000 winning auction bid for Oakhurst, previously reported as being made by an unidentified West Virginia businessman, has fallen through. Owner Lewis Keller Sr., is now concerned about the possibility of foreclosure for the nine-hole course, the AP reports.
The club’s 30-acre course, museum and clubhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Still, Keller struggled for years to find a buyer until last year, when a Richmond, Va.-based group planned to take over the course. But the group could not raise the $2.5 million necessary to close the deal.
“I have done everything I can do since 1959 to this golf course for the history of the game. I can do no more,” Keller said on August 7. “At the present, I’m heartbroken.”
A bank based in McLean, Va., holds a lien on the property and Keller is concerned that the bank will take it over, AP reported.