The Beacon Hill Homeowner’s Association acquired the shuttered 27-hole facility in Leesburg, Va., two years ago, and is in discussions to lease the golf parcels, make renovations, and reopen as the private Belle Terre Golf at Beacon Hill. The clubhouse, as currently envisioned, would be located in a renovated 12,000-sq. ft. home that was constructed 30 years ago for a Saudi prince.
The Beacon Hill Homeowner’s Association, having acquired the shuttered 27-hole The Golf Club of Virginia at Beacon Hill two years ago from its absentee owner, is in final discussions with a private group that will lease the golf parcels, make major renovations and reopen the course as a private club, the Washington, D.C. Business Journal reported.
Belle Terre Golf at Beacon Hill is now being incorporated into local real estate listings as a “world class championship-designed golf course, one of a kind clubhouse facility—tennis, swimming, fitness!” It is a far cry from the Johnny Miller-designed Golf Club of Virginia, which was closed in 2006 after only five years in operation, the Business Journal reported.
As part of a settlement, the HOA in 2014 acquired the 330-acre course for $1, while also paying off the former owner’s $25,000 back property tax bill. Christopher Deelsnyder, president of the Beacon Hill HOA, said Monday that over the last two years, the board and the Beacon Hill community have worked together to chart the future of the course, the Business Journal reported.
The goal was to “eliminate the uncertainty over who owns it,” Deelsnyder said, determine how it would be used, and “reverse this failed golf course community reputation.” The first question: “Could a golf course be viable?”
Jeffrey Milton, CEO of resort developer BTS Development Corp., and local partner John Steele, believe it can be. The duo have formed Belle Terre Golf LLC, the company that hopes to redevelop the Beacon Hill course into a “truly unique private golf club” combining “the natural paradise” of Loudoun with an Ault, Clark & Associates-designed 18-hole golf course, and an “elegant clubhouse.”
The clubhouse, as currently envisioned, would be located in a renovated 12,000-sq. ft. home just north of the Beacon Hill hamlet, constructed three decades ago for its then-owner, Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud. The Saudi prince sold it (and its indoor pool and indoor squash courts and panoramic views of the Blue Ridge mountains) in 1996 for $750,000. The Milton group is in talks with the current owner to buy it, the Business Journal reported.
The deal, however, is not done. The first step will be a mid-May vote of Beacon Hill homeowners to back the Belle Terre bid, or not. Two thirds of HOA members must support the proposal to move it forward—and then a vast majority of them must buy in as members, at the $15,000 “founder” level or the $3,000 “social” level, the Business Journal reported.
“The community has to support a club,” said Milton, who, as a co-founder of BTS, has developed several golf course communities in south Florida and elsewhere.
If the HOA supports the proposal, what follows is a 180-day due diligence period before closing on the lease. Then, the agriculturally zoned property must be rezoned for golf course use, which will involve negotiations with the county over utilities, transportation and other issues, the Business Journal reported.
The Beacon Hill community was carved out of the 2,000-acre agricultural estate of radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey. In 1979, a company backed by Abdulaziz bought the entire property from Godfrey for roughly $6 million. In 1986, Abdulaziz sold the entire site to a development partnership for $16 million, but the team’s plan faced widespread opposition and fell through. Not until 1996 did a new proposal emerge and win Loudoun approval, this time from McLean-based Elm Street Development. Beacon Hill was born. The Golf Club of Virginia at Beacon Hill opened five years later, but immediately fell into a financial morass. Milton placed the blame on the $50,000 initial buy-in, which left the club with too few members to thrive, the Business Journal reported.
The course changed owners, to Senior Tour Players Fund I LP, but didn’t survive beyond 2006. Still, the trouble continued, as seven years later Brett Amendola of Ashburn was sentenced to 84 months in prison for carrying out a $5 million Ponzi scheme involving his purported purchase of the Beacon Hill course. Amendola bilked at least $2.8 million from more than a dozen victims, according to the Justice Department, the Business Journal reported.
Milton’s plan for the golf course, according to the draft term sheet, calls for a for-profit, private club with a driving range, putting greens, clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, fitness facility, meeting rooms and an outdoor family pavilion. Belle Terre Golf will enter into a 99-year lease with the HOA for all 27 holes. The course will then be rejiggered with widened fairways and enhanced approaches into the rerouted 18 holes, with, perhaps, the future addition of a nine-hole Par 3 “executive” course, the Business Journal reported.
“It’s a wonderful tract of land,” Milton said, “a beautiful property.”