Johnny Harris explores developing Charlotte Golf Links course

03/19/2014 7:02 PM

03/19/2014 7:04 PM

Days after local golfers learned that Charlotte Golf Links had been shut down, real estate developer Johnny Harris and businessman Greg Currie announced Wednesday that they will lead a study into possible development of the property.

The golf course, located on 187 acres just south of Interstate 485 at Providence and Ardrey Kell roads, was shut down late last week, according to a sign posted on a gate there. The course had been placed in receivership last year.

Harris called the golf course land a “unique opportunity to start over in a very populated area and put in a well-planned project.”

The Rea family, owners of the land, invited Lincoln Harris to lead an analysis of the property in consultation with surrounding landowners, planners and the community, the release said. The process could take up to a year.

“We’re not sure yet what’s best to go in there,” Harris said in a statement, “but we’ll look at the land and be guided by the wishes of the Rea family and the community.”

The area south of Interstate 485 on Providence Road is seeing a spurt in development. Directly across from Charlotte Golf Links, Childress Klein Properties, Crosland Southeast and two homebuilders are planning a $200 million, 90-acre mixed-use project called Waverly.

The development is set to include single-family and multifamily homes, office space and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail including a Whole Foods grocery store.

A news release issued Wednesday by Lincoln Harris, Johnny Harris’ firm, said the golf course ceased operating March 13. Anyone who purchased memberships can contact Billy Casper Golf Management to redeem their privileges at Skybrook Golf Course in Huntersville, according to the statement.

Willie Rea, part of the family who owns the land, said officials with Billy Casper Golf Management left Thursday evening without explanation.

The statement, however, said the Rea family “reacquired control of the property last week after the court-ordered removal of the company that had been operating the golf course course on the land under lease with the family since 1999.”

Skybrook and Charlotte Golf Links were placed in receivership by a judge in August. The courses owed millions to their lender, Hunting Dog Capital, a San Francisco-based firm.

Billy Casper Golf Management had been brought in to manage Charlotte Golf Links after it was placed in receivership. An official with Casper, reached by email, would not comment on the statement, except to say that it was accurate that golfers could contact the company about playing at Skybrook.

The Rea family wasn’t involved in managing the golf course, according to the news release.

Charlotte Golf Links and the Skybrook Golf Club were among seven courses owned by the Carolina Trail group led by businessman Jeff Silverstein. Silverstein’s troubled operations incurred more than $1.2 million in federal tax liens.

The Mecklenburg tax collector’s office says Charlotte Golf Links was auctioned last week. The lender posted the highest bid and foreclosed.

Real estate records filed March 13 show Hunting Dog Capital extended a $3 million loan to Elm Golf, a firm controlled by the Rea family.

The Charlotte Golf Links tract has a tax value of about $5.7 million.

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