Ross Cellino, a prominent personal-injury attorney in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, bought the property in suburban Orchard Park, which features a Michael Hurdzan-designed course, for under $1 million.
Ross M. Cellino Jr., a prominent personal-injury lawyer in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, has purchased Harvest Hill Golf Course, an 18-hole public golf course and recreation facility in suburban Orchard Park, from the Harvest Hill Foundation, formerly known as the West Seneca Rotary Foundation, The Buffalo News reported.
Cellino, acting through an entity named 3052 Transit Road LLC, paid $941,390 for the 248-acre golf course, the News reported.
Harvest Hill’s golf course was designed and created out of farmland by Michael J. Hurdzan, a renowned architect and expert on related environmental issues (“Plotting the Right Course,” C&RB, August 2007). The daily-fee course, which has been described as one of Buffalo’s best public golf courses, features rolling bentgrass fairways, natural wetlands, woodlands, bunkers, lakes and greens. It has hosted such tournaments as the New York State Golf Association Mid-Am Qualifier, the Western New York Public Links and the 2011 Western New York Professional Golfers Association Section Championship.
Besides the championship-level, 7,010-yard course, the property includes a 4,549-sq.-ft. clubhouse, a learning center with a short-game facility, an 8-acre driving range and a three-hole family course. Harvest Hill has also served as host for a local chapter of The First Tee program.
Rates at Harvest Hill, the News reported, range from $29 to $59 during the regular season for the 18-hole course, depending on the day of the week and time of day; from $29 to $54 during the fall season; and $5 to $12 for the family three-hole course, depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend and whether a cart is used.
Cellino, partner at Cellino & Barnes, one of the area’s most prominent personal-injury law firms, did not respond to a request for comment from the News. Patrick J. Sgroi, president of the Harvest Hill Foundation, told the News that Cellino plans generally to keep the club’s name, maintain it as a public golf course and allow the First Tee program to continue operating from Harvest Hill, under the umbrella of the foundation.
“From the foundation’s standpoint, we feel like he was the best fit,” Sgroi told the News. “He’s a great guy, and he’s very excited about the project.”
Harvest Hill opened in July 2007 on land that had initially been donated in 1997 by a Buffalo-area shopping center developer, Carl J. Lambein, and his wife, Marion Prosser Lambein, to the West Seneca Rotary Foundation for the purpose of creating a public recreational facility and golf course for the community, the News reported. Under the direction of West Seneca financial planner H. Joseph Sgroi, Patrick’s father, and other trustees, the foundation secured 140 more acres to achieve Lambein’s goal and started the First Tee chapter.
Patrick Sgroi told the News that the foundation hadn’t originally intended to find a buyer, but that the economic climate changed the circumstances.
“It was just time,” said Sgroi, who is also President of Sgroi Financial in West Seneca, N.Y. “It was time for us to move on, and we had a great situation with Mr. Cellino.”