The Greater Asheville (N.C.) Regional Airport Authority has entered into a purchase ageement with Warrior Golf Management for the public Fletcher, N.C. course, which lies across a state highway from the airport’s runway. Warrior Golf has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the course, described as “profitable and busy,” was reported in March as being listed for sale for $3 million. The airport had set passenger records for several years prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and the Authority’s Executive Director said the interest in the course is part of a new strategy to diversify holdings, while also protecting the airport from non-compatible nearby land use.
The Asheville (N.C.) Regional Airport plans to buy the nearby Broadmoor Golf Links in Fletcher, N.C., partly to “ensure that the airport remains protected from non-compatible land uses” near it, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.
C+RB reported in March that the public facility, which General Manager Hollie Storrier said at the time was “profitable and busy,” had been listed for sale at $3 million (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/broadmoor-golf-links-put-up-for-sale/).
Airport spokeswoman Tina Kinsey confirmed the planned purchase when responding on June 11 to a Citizen-Timesrequest for information on the proposed deal.
“The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority [GARAA] and Warrior Golf Management, LLC (Broadmoor Golf Links) have entered into a purchase agreement,” Kinsey said via e-mail. “The purchase agreement is contingent and requires the successful completion of GARAA’s due diligence, now underway.”
Negotiations “have been occurring for many months, and the airport is pleased to move forward with this next step,” Kinsey added.
Warrior Golf has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal bankruptcy court.
If the deal is consummated, the Citizen-Times reported, Kinsey said it will be “a strategic purchase in line with the airport’s long-term goals,” which include protecting the airport from non-compatible uses, and to “diversify the airport’s future revenue sources.”
“Both goals are guided by Federal Aviation Administration grant assurance,” Kinsey said. “The purchase will be made with funds already identified for this investment.”
Further details were unavailable, Kinsey said, adding that “Much is still in process as the airport evaluates this transaction.”
The golf course is across North Carolina Route 280, called Boylston Highway in that area, from the airport’s runway, the Citizen-Times reported. Broadmoor is in the glide path of the airport, and much of the course is in the flood plain, but the clubhouse area and nearby land is not.
At one point in the early 2000s, the city of Asheville considered buying Broadmoor, but concerns about flooding and the expense quashed the deal, the Citizen-Times reported.
Lew Bleiweis, the GARAA’ Executive Director, said it’s important for the airport to diversity its holdings, the Citizen-Times reported.
“It is important to note that while the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted and then prolonged negotiations, the crisis also highlighted the significant importance of revenue diversification such as this for the airport’s long-term sustainability,” Bleweis said in a statement. “This is a responsible use of airport assets to generate a positive return to support the future vitality of our region’s airport.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asheville Regional Airport had set passenger records several years running, serving 1.6 million passengers in 2019, a 43% increase, and adding seven routes, the Citizen-Times reported. But travel plummeted with the pandemic, and the airport announced in April it would receive more than $14 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.
The federal stimulus package allocated $10 billion for the nation’s airports, the Citizen-Times reported. The bailouts aim to maintain safe air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, support the economy, keep airport and aviation workers employed, and keep airport credit ratings stable, according to an April 21st press release from the GARAA.
Bleiweis has said previously the airport is financially stable and will recover from the economic collapse related to the pandemic, the Citizen-Times reported.