Two years after David Spirk reached an agreement with the member-owned Hellertown, Pa. club to build townhomes on excess land on the property, members voted to sell to him, with a commitment that Silver Creek, which has an 83-year history and a Donald Ross-designed golf course, would stay private and receive at least $2.5 million in capital improvements.
David Spirk, a developer who was already planning to build townhomes on excess land at the property, said on July 7 that he has an agreement of sale to purchase Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown, Pa. by the end of the year, The Morning Call of Allentown (Pa.) reported. Spirk declined to disclose the sale price.
Silver Creek’s owner-members voted in April to sell the property to Spirk, who agreed to keep the club, which has an 83-year history and a Donald Ross-designed golf course, private and committed to at least $2.5 million in capital improvements, The Morning Call reported.
“Silver Creek is a great club with a top-rated golf course, but it had some common capital challenges and amenity shortfalls,” Spirk said. The property includes 27 golf holes, a swimming pool, a 21,500-sq.-ft. indoor golf center, locker room and a 22,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse with a restaurant and catering facilities, The Morning Call reported.
Spirk, President of the Spirk Brothers Inc. construction firm, said his plan for about 150 townhomes on the edges of the 280-acre property is what put him in a position to purchase the club, The Morning Call reported. While club members agreed to sell land for the homes in 2014, Spirk said they then realized they would need an additional influx of cash to make capital improvements at a quicker pace, prompting the club decided to seek out a partner and transition away from a member-owned club.
C&RB reported on the development arrangement in 2015 (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/01/silver-creek-cc-considers-building-50m-townhouses/ and http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/01/developer-plans-townhouse-community-silver-creek-cc/).
“This partnership with Spirk preserves our club for the long term, and ends the era of funding capital projects and operating shortfalls with member assessments,” Silver Creek President George Kuczynski said in a news release that confirmed the sale. “We have a unique history and avid golfing membership here at Silver Creek, and now our club as a private country club is more secure.”
Spirk plans to turn the club into a more family-friendly venue, The Morning Call reported, with proposed improvements including a year-round driving range and learning center, a domed artificial turf field, virtual technology, video rooms and upgraded dining areas and locker rooms.
As part of the deal, Spirk also agreed not to raise member dues for two years, The Morning Call reported. In addition, all booked events at the club, such as wedding ceremonies and banquets, will be honored.
After securing the necessary zoning change last year, Spirk said he plans to start construction on the townhomes in 2018, The Morning Call reported. The residential golf community concept requires the townhome purchasers be club members, which is expected to strengthen Silver Creek’s membership profile.
In a way, the club sees Spirk’s upcoming ownership as Silver Creek entering its fourth phase, The Morning Call reported.
According to the club, Silver Creek’s origins began in September 1934, when a group of nine clubs—whose members were part of the supervisory force of Bethlehem Steel’s plant in Bethlehem, Pa. — petitioned the state to incorporate the clubs into one nonprofit called the Bethlehem Steel Club. It then came to be known as the Steel Club.
In 1946, Bethlehem Steel formalized its ownership in the Steel Club by acquiring additional property adjacent to the existing clubhouse and hiring an architect, Donald Ross, to design and build an 18-hole golf course, The Morning Call reported. The facility opened in 1948 as a par-71 course.
The club’s third phase came in January 1986, The Morning Call reported, when Bethlehem Steel sold the property to a group of members. It was then renamed Silver Creek Country Club and became a private nonprofit under the management of its owner-members.
When it came to a potential fourth phase, The Morning Call reported, the club evaluated various funding options before deciding to find a partner to complete the necessary capital projects, Treasurer Fred Wagner said in the announcement of the sale to Spirk.
“The board has a long list of capital projects that are necessary to keep pace with current social and recreational lifestyle trends,” Wagner said. “Getting a capital infusion is the prudent way to make them a reality.”