Pine Meadows Golf Course is for sale with an asking price of $5 million.
David Mooty, president of Continental Golf Corp., which owns Pine Meadows, said he listed the property last week. The future of Pine Meadows has been a hot topic of discussion this season with an organized effort to keep the golf course. In August, the Crow Wing County Board agreed to talk to representatives of Brainerd, Baxter and the golf course ownership to gather information about a possible municipal course as long as the county did not incur any expense.
Mooty said he provided financial data to the county and heard officials still were looking at the numbers.
"We have not received any offer from the county," Mooty said.
However, Mooty said he talked to various people in the last couple of years and their ideas fit with his own vision for part residential and part commercial development of Pine Meadows. The golf course covers about 100 acres. Mooty said after the sale of the Kohl's property and others he was advised the property value is close to $5 million, which led to the asking price.
Mooty also met with Gary Walters, Crow Wing County commissioner, four to six weeks ago. This summer Walters said he was looking into retaining the golf course through the private sector.
Speaking for a group of business people living in the lakes area who are looking at a Pine Meadows purchase, Walters said they will make an offer in the next couple of weeks. He did not disclose names of people involved in the group. Walters said the county was gathering information.
"All the entities are still working hard behind the scenes," Walters said.
As a government official, Walters said the expectations were to have a golf course that made more revenue than its expenses. Any purchase being considered was not to cost taxpayers any money. Considering the golf course asking price, Walters said it was difficult to make that work so he decided to explore a private venture.
Walters said he thinks the effort still may work, but they are crunching numbers before making an offer.
"Our group's number one goal is preserving an 18-hole golf course right where it sits and that's a very tall order to see if we can maintain that so it's not an easy business model," Walters said. "I firmly believe the Baxter City Council wants to keep it as a golf course."
Walters said he thinks a developer who would do anything else will have an uphill political battle to change the zoning from residential to commercial. At the golf course's current residential zoning, single-family homes are allowed.
Baxter city staff talked to Mooty to gather information more than once. Baxter City Council member Darrel Olson heard a preliminary proposal from Walters where the city of Baxter could end up with the golf course.
"Everybody wants to save the golf course. The question is at what cost and how you can do it," Olson said.
Rob Johnson, who oversees the RE/MAX commercial division in the lakes area, is listing the property.
"It's just not economically viable as a golf course," Johnson said. "We've had lots of interest. This has been something coming down the road for a while."
Current plans are to close the golf course for the season about Nov. 1. If there is no sale, Mooty said officials will analyze this season and potentially could open the course next year. He said they would have to look at that idea when the time comes.
Mooty said, "We don't really have any urgency to sell the property quickly. We are just trying to gauge what our options are."
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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