Mayor has his eye on golf course property
GREENFIELD — The 80-year-old Meadows Golf Course on Deerfield Street, which has been plagued over the last decade by foreclosure and floods, is for sale, and the mayor appears to be interested in the town buying it.
“There are so many possibilities,” said Mayor William Martin. “It’s in a flood plain, so there’s not a lot that could be built on the back part of the property, but maybe a dog park, a skate park, a walking and sitting park could be built closer to Deerfield Street. We’d be preserving another green space.”
Martin will go before the Town Council’s Economic Development Committee Tuesday night at 6:30 in 20 Sanderson St. to discuss the possibility of the town purchasing the 50-acre riverfront property and what it might do with it if it decides to take the step.
The nine-hole golf course is listed on loopnet.com, a commercial real estate listing website, as a “distressed” property that needs lender approval for a short sale, which is what the owner, listed as 5&10 Entertainment LLC, is seeking.
According to a local real estate agent who did not want to be identified, “distressed” means that the owner owes more than the property is worth and short sale means permission of the lender, who is listed in town records as Florence Savings Bank, is needed for a sale that would bring in less than the owner owes.
A spokeswoman for Florence Savings Bank said the bank has no information about the property or the sale at this time.
Martin said he has talked with the bank, which currently has possession and said the bank is marketing the “abandoned” property.
According to town assessor’s records, the property at 398 Deerfield St. is assessed at $552,098. The price listed on loopnet.com is $570,000, but it is not clear how much is owed on the mortgage.
Martin said he hopes the town would get the property for less than the asking price.
The golf course and clubhouse were severely damaged after Tropical Storm Irene pummeled them in late August 2011.
The most recent owner, Terri White, decided at that time to rebuild the course and renovate the clubhouse, but would periodically say that there was “so much work to be done.”
White, who bought the Meadows in late 2008 or early 2009, told The Recorder in September 2011 that she didn’t have flood insurance and, unfortunately, the entire golf course ended up under water after Irene. Months later many holes were still buried in mud.
She said everything in the clubhouse’s basement was destroyed, including freezers, refrigerators and soda and draft lines, and golfers didn’t get back on the course until later in 2012.
White complained, at that time, that it was taking longer than she’d originally thought to complete the cleanup and renovations. The restaurant reopened last year, but didn’t appear to be doing a lot of business.
Martin said it is possible that a retailer could come along and build on the part of the property closest to Deerfield Street, because the property is zoned commercial.
“Because it’s on a flood plain, though, not a lot could be done on the parts of the property that tend to flood,” he said. “Those would be the parts that would remain green.”
Martin said another possibility would be for the town to purchase the entire property, keep the piece closest to the adjacent wastewater treatment plant so that if another tank ever needs to be built the town would have the space, and either sell or lease other small parcels.
“Someone, for instance, could put a chip and putt on one piece, while someone else could build a dog park,” said Martin. “This is all very preliminary. I’m just going to throw it out to the Town Council committee and see what happens.”
Martin said that because some of the property is considered “recreational chapter land” by the state, the town would have first right of refusal if the bank finds a buyer.
Economic Development Committee Chairman Patrick Devlin said his committee will listen to the mayor’s presentation on Tuesday and begin its own discussions about the property.
Gary Noga, Daniel Majewski and John Stacy owned the golf course for 15 years until they sold it to Alexandra and David Nunez in 2005 for $1.2 million. In 2008, there was a foreclosure sale and the course never opened that year.