It’s final “Fore!” time at the Elm Creek Golf Course.
The 18-hole course in Plymouth closed to public play on Labor Day weekend, with crews loading up golf carts and winding down public operations in the days that followed. Big changes are ahead for the 110-acre privately owned course, a large portion of which will become 156 posh homes on 69 acres of rolling hills.
Home prices in the future Creekside Hills development will start at $500,000, with some expected to reach $1.5 million, according to GWS Development, which has a purchase agreement to buy the land at the corner of Highway 55 and County Road 101.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014. The Wayzata School District, which is projecting growth in the district, has purchased the remaining 40 acres of the golf course next to the high school for possible future expansion.
In May, the Plymouth City Council rezoned the golf course, which dates back to the 1960s, to allow for home construction. With rising demand for housing and interest in golf on the decline nationally, developers had begun eyeing the greens. Elm Creek is one of at least four golf courses in the state that has been closed and transformed into new neighborhoods; the former Hampton Hills golf course in Plymouth is another.
Jake Walesch, of GWS Development, said demand for new homes is high in Plymouth. The developer’s goal is to maintain the existing natural beauty surrounding Elm Creek, preserving as many trees as possible, he said.
“We usually try to work with the existing topography, trees and all the natural elements of the land as much as possible,” Walesch said. “It’s a really unique site. We are excited about it.”
The neighborhood density will be 2.7 homes per acre, which is slightly lower than the city of Plymouth’s target of three homes per acre. Lot sizes will vary, with properties on Elm Creek measuring a half-acre larger, Walesch said.
“It’s going to be similar to our other developments, which is higher-end single-family construction with amenities,” Walesch said. “We usually have a pool, clubhouse, private park and trails.”
Some neighbors expressed concern about increased traffic, landscape buffering and other issues when the matter went before the City Council and planning and zoning commission last spring.
But city officials had known for years that the golf course was slated for redevelopment.
“It wasn’t a big surprise to the community or the city government to see a proposal come forward to develop the golf course,” said Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik.
Plymouth senior planner Shawn Drill estimates that the city is now 85 to 90 percent built out.
And the closure of Elm Creek doesn’t mean the city is without golf: It still has three 18-hole courses and a Hennepin County-owned driving range and pitch and putt.