The 118-year-old East Providence, R.I. club, which has a Donald Ross-designed golf course, was bought by an investment group led by Rhode Island golf legend and PGA Tour star Brad Faxon, giving members hope that its golf history could be sustained. But that group has now entered into a sales agreement with Marshall Development, and city officials are signaling their support for rezoning the property.
A longtime fixture on Rhode Island’s club scene is in the process of being sold following hard financial times, WJAR NBC 10 of Providence reported, and it’s a decision that’s leaving many longtime golfers in the state devastated.
A spokesperson for Marshall Development told WJAR at the end of February that the company has entered into a purchase and sales agreement with the owners of the Metacomet Golf Club in East Providence, R.I.
In a statement, the spokesperson said the plan to redevelop the site into a mixed-use property that “will bolster both commerce and community in the upper bay.”
The club, which has a Donald Ross-designed golf course, sat bayside for the last 118 years, WJAR reported, and at one point in time, it was the most luxurious golf club in the state that attracted the “who’s who” of the Providence area.
Members held ownership in recent years, until Metacomet was sold for about $2.2 million in April 2019 to a new investment group that included Rhode Island golf legend and PGA Tour star Brad Faxon (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/pga-tour-pro-buys-into-rhode-island-club/). “Metacomet is in my soul because I kind of learned to play there,” Faxon told WJAR at the time.
Former Metacomet Board members told WJAR after news of the sale to Marshall Development that they had selected Faxon’s group because they believed he’d help restore the club to its original glory. Letters and presentations made at the time of the Faxon group’s purchase helped to convince them that would be the case, but now they’re scratching their heads after the latest news, WJAR reported.
The new owners sent an e-mail to members to give them insight about the sale talks, citing financial difficulties with the club, WJAR reported.
East Providence City Councilman Bob Rodericks told WJAR that he was saddened by the news of a potential sale and was eager to learn more. “My first choice would have been to keep it Metacomet forever. There’s history there, Indian culture there,” Rodericks said.
Rodericks added that he believes the property is still zoned to be a country club, meaning a change to allow a different purpose or use would need to be approved by the council. “We’ll have to wait and see what the new developer wants to do,” he said.
East Providence, however, is becoming busier, Rodericks noted, making it more attractive to development at a time when golf course operations are finding new competitive challenges.
In a statement, East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva said in part, “The city is fortunate that a local Rhode Island developer, who has a long history of successful development in East Providence, will be working on this project.
“There has been continued interest in economic development in our city that will support job growth and sound real estate development,” DaSilva added.