On September 29, equity members of the 94-year-old Bloomfield Hills, Mich. club are scheduled to vote on a possible sale of the 104-acre property to Toll Brothers for development into a new subdivision, while also considering a modernization plan. “Nobody wants to see Forest Lake sold [but] we are faced with a difficult financial reality,” said Board member Kenneth Neuman. “It is extremely emotional on all fronts.”
On September 29, members of the 94-year-old Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. are scheduled to meet to choose between two options, Crain’s Detroit Business reported.
Forest Lake’s 91 equity members will vote on a possible sale of the 104-acre property to Toll Bros. for development into a new subdivision, Crain’s Detroit Business reported, while the membership also considers whether to instead “grow and invest” in the club by renovating its clubhouse in an effort to attract new and younger membership, according to Board President Creighton Forester.
Forester declined to say how much the renovation plan would cost, Crain’s Detroit Business reported, but said the project would be paid for through membership dues, which wouldn’t be raised as part of the plan.
“Forest Lake is on a gorgeous piece of property,” Forester said. “We have, like most area clubs, a clubhouse that needs to be modernized and updated to attract new and younger families. It would bring a new facility to today’s times and needs.”
Both Forester and Kenneth Neuman, a member of the club’s Board of Directors and a past Board President, declined to reveal the proposed purchase price, Crain’s Detroit Business reported.
Forest Lake currently has seven membership categories—equity golf, non-equity golf, non-equity social, legacy, intermediate, premier corporate and social—and more than 300 total members, Crain’s Detroit Business reported. The club is capped at 325 equity members and a majority of the existing equity members would have to approve the sale.
Declining equity membership and revenue has prompted the consideration of the sale, Neuman told Crain’s Detroit Business, after Toll Bros. first approached the club during the winter about a possible deal.
“We love this place. We want it to survive. We are faced with a difficult financial reality,” Neuman said. “It is extremely emotional on all fronts.
“Nobody wants to see Forest Lake sold,” he added. “We are just faced with a very challenging economic environment. I know if there is a realistic way to save our club, there is not a member who wouldn’t want to do that if they believed it could be saved. We are going to see how the membership votes.”
St. Louis, Mo.-based consulting firm McMahon Group was hired to survey the Forest Lake CC membership and develop a plan to modernize the club, Forester told Crain’s Detroit Business, and the vote at the end of September is the second phase of that process.
“We have a very steady [and] very passionate membership,” Forester said. “Nothing has led to the sale other than Toll Bros. approaching us, and we felt we had, as Board of Directors and President, a fiduciary responsibility to take it forward to the equity members.”
Through a spokesperson, Toll Bros., which sold seven properties from its golf and country club division to ClubCorp in November 2019 (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/clubcorp-acquires-seven-properties-from-toll-golf/) declined comment about the possible acquisition of Forest Lake, Crain’s Detroit Business reported.
In 2009, Forest Lake considered a merger with the Detroit (Mich.) Athletic Club (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/dac-forest-lake-country-club-to-vote-on-merger/) and six years later, another merger with Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Mich. was considered (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/forest-lake-cc-plum-hollow-cc-consider-merging/), but neither deal was ever finalized.
Forest Lake’s 18-hole golf course was designed by William Diddel, with several holes later redesigned by Arthur Hills.