Residents have posted signs protesting the sale of the Fuquay-Varina, N.C., property. The owners expect a residential developer to purchase the land.
Tony Withers and his four partners, who developed Crooked Creek Golf Club in the 1990s, have decided to sell the Fuquay-Varina, N.C., property, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported.
The decision has not been well received by some homeowners in the Crooked Creek community, which today includes hundreds of homes. Signs have been posted along the course protesting a possible sale, and a homeowners meeting has been scheduled for Friday to discuss possible options, the News & Observer reported.
“I would like a white knight to come in and buy it from them and keep it going and put some money back into it,” said Randy Wells, who lives along the 5th hole. “Will they make money on it if they do that?”
Withers expects the land to fetch enough from a residential developer to pay off the debt on the property, pay back the partners for all the money they’ve invested over the years, and walk away with a small profit, the News & Observer reported.
While Withers’ group was involved in starting Crooked Creek, it hasn’t been involved in the residential construction of the community since it sold 29 lots when the first nine holes were being built. The partners later sold the remainder of their non-golf land to MacGregor Development to help finance the completion of the course, the News & Observer reported.
The community has since been annexed by the town of Fuquay-Varina, the News & Observer reported.
“The game is not growing,” Withers said. “Juniors just don’t play, the old guys are aging out.”
Compounding the problem has been that, by Withers’ count, 16 new courses have opened in the Triangle since Crooked Creek was completed. “There’s been a lot of competition in our area, a lot of well-funded golf courses,” said Sam Ravenel, one of Withers’ partners.
Crooked Creek is also showing its age, particularly its greens, which need to be redone—an undertaking that would cost several hundred thousand dollars, the News & Observer reported.
“We’ve borrowed all the money we can borrow,” Ravenel said. “We’ve done everything we can do.”
The covenants and restrictions for the Crooked Creek subdivision state that C.C. Partners, the company that the partners formed to develop the course, may eventually decide to sell it for single-family or multifamily residential use. Withers insists the plan was always to sell, just not so soon, the News & Observer reported.
“Our exit strategy has always been to put a neighborhood in there when the time came,” Withers said. “I didn’t think it would be in my lifetime.”
Although Withers said several developers are eager to buy the land, the property is not yet under contract. Ravenel said the golf course would at least remain open through the end of this year, the News & Observer reported.
“When I play the course and see all these signs that say don’t close the golf course, I’m right there with them,” Withers said. “But when I see the signs that call us a liar, call us greedy—that burns me up, absolutely just breaks my heart.”