The 311-acre property in Lafayette Hill, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, includes a conference center that can host 500 people and 120 hotel rooms, in addition to its 18-hole Gary Player-designed golf course. It will be added to the Union League portfolio that has grown to include two other clubs and two stand-alone restaurants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Ace Club, which will now be renamed Liberty Hill, was built in 2003 by Chubb Insurance.
The Union League of Philadelphia has put under agreement the Ace Club, an 18-hole Gary Player-designed golf course and conference facility in the Philadelphia suburb of Lafayette Hill, Pa., the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The pending acquisition of the 311-acre property, which has a 35,000-sq. ft. clubhouse and rooms for overnight stays, will add to the Union League’s growing real estate holdings in New Jersey and the Philadelphia region, the Business Journal reported.
In addition to its flagship property in center-city Philadelphia, the club has in recent years purchased the former Torresdale-Frankford Country Club in Northeast Philadelphia; the National Golf Club in Swainton, N.J.; the Bungalow, a restaurant in the Jersey Shore town of Stone Harbor, N.J.; and the Guard House, a restaurant in the Philadelphia Main Line suburb of Gladwyne, Pa.
The Union League has been actively exploring buying golf clubs and other properties as part of a master plan to enhance its holdings and membership offerings, the Business Journal reported. It plans to expand its Philadelphia presence by adding a rooftop restaurant and bar to its historic club on Broad Street near Philadelphia’s City Hall, and is looking to acquire nearby properties for expansion opportunities, according to people familiar with the matter.
At its Torresdale property, it has purchased adjacent parcels to expand and relocate some of its club offerings, the Business Journal reported. At Stone Harbor, it bought land to expand its clubhouse and add a spa and other amenities.
Sources said the club explored a number of opportunities to buy country clubs in suburban Philadelphia before ultimately not striking a deal, the Business Journal reported. The one that finally came through was the Ace Club, with the Union League signing a letter of intent at the end of December to buy the property from Chubb Insurance.
The Ace Club opened in 2003, with the Gary Player course part of a bigger getaway and conference destination built and owned by Chubb, the Business Journal reported. The private club was built on the former Eagle Lodge Golf Club.
The first public indication that the Union League was buying Ace came from a report on February 24th in More Than The Curve, a local news site, that reported that the Ace Club’s liquor license had been transferred to the Union League, the Business Journal reported.
In a video message sent to members on February 26th, Union League President Craig Mills announced the club had put Ace under agreement and revealed some of the plans for the property, which will be renamed Liberty Hill, the Business Journal reported.
The property is within a 30-minute drive of 75 percent of Union League members and the golf course and clubhouse would not need any renovations, the Business Journal reported. The conference facility, which can host 500 people, and the 120 hotel rooms would be renamed the Lodge.
There is enough unused land to consider adding outdoor tennis, pickleball and bocce facilities and even a small riding stable, the Business Journal reported.. Indoor and outdoor pools and a fast-casual dining concept are in the works. On the interior, there is room to expand fitness facilities to include yoga, a spa, a salon and related facilities.
The club management has challenged its staff to come up with a new dining concept for the Ace Club property that could be unveiled by Labor Day, the Business Journal reported.
The acquisition of the Ace Club won’t affect the club’s master plan, Union League General Manager Jeff McFadden said in the video sent to members, the Business Journal reported. The club will continue to move forward with the rooftop concept at its flagship center-city building as well as with other renovations and expansion projects underway at its other facilities.
The Union League’s acquisition of its other facilities has enhanced membership, according to the video, the Business Journal reported, with a waiting list of 100 now at its National Golf Club location, and a waiting list of another 75 for the Torresdale-Frankford property.