Golf operations for the City of Atlanta are a hot mess this week:
Here in Las Vegas, Silverstone Ranch golf course closed abruptly, in the middle of the night, last year. Now the Badlands golf course in Ward 2, around which Queensridge was built, is closing at the end of this month. The longtime management company for the Badlands course had struggled along by deferring major maintenance until quitting early this year. Some of its employees formed a new management company and took the contract, but they are quitting at the end of November. The developer says it is now forced to close it completely on November 30.
Tuesday, an article in the Ventura County Star included this about Silverstone Ranch:
As for Silverstone Golf Course in Las Vegas, homeowners there are still waiting to see what happens under its most recent ownership. The water-starved golf course remains closed and the City Council in June approved a $97,380 lien against the property for nuisance violations, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Desert Lifestyles sold the course to Stoneridge Parkway LLC a day before a scheduled Dec. 17, 2015, hearing was scheduled by a federal judge to determine how the golf course would be restored. Stoneridge filed for bankruptcy the next day, Dec. 18, according to The Sun.
“These owners come in, they’re like corporate raiders,” said Yo Fujiki, a former Los Angeles County resident who moved to his home near the Las Vegas golf course two years ago when he retired. “They come in and chop it up and make a killing and go away.”
He said in an interview Tuesday that many retirees in the community live on fixed incomes and have seen their home values plunge since the 27-hole course closed in 2015.
“We’re absolutely and totally frustrated,” he said. “The worst part is our home values have come down 15 percent to 30 percent. Some homes were in escrow when it happened (the golf course sold), and the sales fell through.
“It’s difficult to sell when you say it’s a golf course community, and there’s no golf course.”
It’s now been over a year at Silverstone Ranch, where the HOA has a paper right to approve any change of use on the golf course land. That protection did not stop the course from closing. That protection is absent from the founding documents of Queensridge. Worse, the owner (past and present) says all purchase agreements for residential lots include the buyers’ initials next to a bold-faced disclosure that the golf course is not part of the deal.
Silverstone Ranch did have some court intervention, but those circumstances do not apply to Badlands. Specifically, the grass on the broad Silverstone fairways have flood mitigation purpose that supercedes the right of the owner to let the grass die. The grass serves to slow down stormwater. At Badlands, flood mitigation is not reliant on any of the landscaping.
Badlands occupies 250 acres. The owner is proposing redevelopment: a non-traditional mix of high density on the 70 acres next to Alta and Rampart, expanding the urban design concepts already in place at that corner and very low density on the west side of the course, where the remaining 180 acres would house 75 homes, with almost all lots one acre or larger, preserving at least 100 of those acres as open space for migrating birds.
The owner is proposing this in place of the existing zoning, which would allow roughly 900 homes throughout, at a more or less even density, which works out to average quarter-acre lot sizes.
In order for the city to stop the owner from building under the existing zoning, the city would have to condemn the land, and taxpayers of the city will have to pay the owner the land’s value. Juries don’t favor cities in these kinds of cases. I have heard wild estimates from zero to a hundred million dollars. My own estimate is $30-million. Politically, it is not likely that the members of the city council will find their voters very excited about borrowing $30-million to benefit a select few. After condemnation, the land would remain open to the public forever, initially unkempt and vacant while the City went through a process of figuring out what to do with it. Nevada’s Constitution prohibits the city from selling it for development, having taken it through condemnation.
So with that off the table, the city’s choice is between the existing entitlement or the non-traditional proposal. This will be heard at 3pm at our next city council meeting, November 16.
Three years after it was closed and fenced, an Arizona golf course moves toward a conversion:
May 2016 – A distillery is taking over a golf course.
Florida is the epicenter. July 2016: a big law firm there announces it is standing up a Golf Course conversion and redevelopment team:
August 2016 – A Bloomberg report analyzes closures of golf courses with houses all around: