The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., plans to sell one of its two driving ranges and tennis complexes to a housing builder, and use the money from the sale to create a recreation center with a fitness facility, exercise room, new bistro and sports bar, and a new ladies’ card room.
Eastpointe Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has found a way out of the rough and into a new source of money to upgrade its facilities, while keeping intact two golf courses for residents, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
The club plans to sell one of two driving ranges and tennis complexes to a housing builder, then use the money from the 10-acre sale to create a recreation center, plus make other upgrades, MyPalmBeachPost reported.
Eastpointe CC’s move is in line with changes being made at golf course communities throughout Florida, particularly in Palm Beach County, as clubs adapt to changing demand for their amenities. Some golf clubs have struggled to survive due to declining interest in the sport, aging members unable to play, or too much debt. A few clubs have struck deals to sell their community-owned clubs to professional club managers, MyPalmBeachPost reported.
Eastpointe is in a unique situation because the club’s facilities are duplicated, said Paul Rogers, president of the Eastpointe Country Club. The gated community featured two country clubs: Eastpointe Country Club and the Golf and Racquet Club, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
For years, the clubs have debated their financial futures. The clubs at first did not require homeowners to buy a membership in order to live in the community, Rogers said, but starting in 2003, the clubs began requiring homeowners to at least become social members, at a cost of around $4,000 a year, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
With the recession, and then changing recreation habits, two separate clubs competing in the same housing community became too difficult, especially for the Golf & Racquet Club, Rogers said. In 2015, the clubs merged and Eastpointe assumed Golf & Racquet’s debt, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
Today, Eastpointe is profitable and counts 526 golf members and about 380 social members, Rogers said. Revenues are about $8.7 million a year, he said.
The Eastpointe homes are filled with a range of residents, including young families who want to be near good public schools in the Palm Beach Gardens area. But clubs, like any other property, need regular maintenance and upgrades, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
“We did not have the capital funds available to do the major renovation you need to do,” Rogers said, and the club was reluctant to assess club members, or go into debt, to make upgrades. Rogers said club leaders came up a different approach. They devised a plan to sell the driving range and tennis courts at the Golf & Racquet Club to a developer to be selected this summer, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
That parcel could accommodate 50 single-family homes starting at around $550,000, Rogers said.
Money from the sale would be used to transform the Golf & Racquet’s old clubhouse into a recreation center. Amenities would include a fitness facility, exercise room, new bistro and sports bar, plus a new ladies’ card room, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
Golf operations would be centralized in the Eastpointe Country Club, which would see its driving range extended and a new short-game practice area added. Rogers said talks are ongoing with club members about the plan, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
Having two of everything is “a luxury and a curse,” Rogers said. It’s a luxury because of the added amenities, he said, but a curse because some features “are old and you’ve got to fix them.”
In the end, the goal is to end up with “one and a half of everything,” including keeping the two golf courses and adding a recreation center—without taking on heavy debt, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
Non-residents of Eastpointe can join the country club, and many do, Rogers said. At Eastpointe, a family with a full golf membership pays about $12,000 a year in dues and food, beverage and gratuity costs. In November the club will add an initiation fee of $7,500, MyPalmBeachPost.com reported.
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