The owner of the Haverhill, Mass. property is fighting having it put on the block as scheduled on July 28, but a lawsuit over conditions required for its development has led his lender to pursue that course.
Crystal Lake Golf Club in Haverhill, Mass. is scheduled to go up for auction on July 28th, the North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune reported, despite the efforts of the club’s owner to keep it from being put on the block.
A lender-ordered auction for the 18-hole golf course, which opened in 1963, is scheduled for 11 a.m. on the 28th at the club, the Eagle-Tribune reported.
Paul McInnis Real Estate Auctions of North Hampton, N.H., is handling the auction of the club, the Eagle-Tribune reported, which will allow for prospective buyers to place bids on site and online the day of the auction.
Golf courses auctioned off by the firm have fetched hefty sums in the past, the Eagle-Tribune noted, the largest of which was the Mount Washington Golf Course in Bretton Woods, N.H., which sold for $10.5 million in 2011.
But the owner of Crystal Lake GC, Haverhill contractor Michael Maroney, is trying to halt the auction, the Eagle-Tribune reported.
Maroney purchased the course for $3.75 million in 2010 and planned to build 50 homes on 13 of the property’s 137 acres, the Eagle-Tribune reported, Since the purchase, Maroney has built 30 homes on the property, but has been locked in a legal battle with the city of Haverhill since last September. He filed a lawsuit in Salem (Mass.) Superior Court alleging that the city’s Planning Board violated an agreement with him involving the construction of a water booster station for the housing subdivision.
Maroney said the city is withholding the project’s final 20 building permits until he constructs the water station, which he said the city placed no timeframe on in 2010, the Eagle-Tribune reported, City officials gave him the option to bond for the station’s construction, Maroney claimed, allowing it to be built later in the project.
After some prospective home buyers began demanding their money back on some of the properties at the golf club, Maroney took the permitting issue to court, the Eagle-Tribune reported, Haverhill City Solicitor William Cox said on July 18th that the next hearing on the case was scheduled for July 21st in Lawrence (Mass.) Superior Court, but that it has now been moved to early August, the Eagle-Tribune reported,
While he awaits a legal decision, Maroney told the Eagle-Tribune that he is optimistic he can halt the auction and win back some of the revenue he has lost. “Over the last year and a half, I’ve lost nine sales and it’s cost me $12 million,” he told the Eagle-Tribune on July 18th.
The legal battle has also cost city taxpayers, he added. “They [the city] have spent $100,000 on legal fees,” he said. “They’ve lost $200,000 in permit fees and $300,000 in real estate taxes. The city has lost $600,000 over stubbornness.”
Maroney told the Eagle-Tribune that he has kept homeowners in the project updated on the lawsuit, and that some of them have even spoken to Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, who Maroney said will issue the building permits if he drops the lawsuit.
But that is simply not an option, Maroney said. “I can’t drop the lawsuit. I’ve lost a year-and-a-half of revenue,” he said, noting that he has arranged to put new irrigation systems in the golf course. “We’re still putting money into it.”