Medina is bucking the growing trend of golf courses-turned-housing developments.
The city recently approved plans for 35 villas and eight high-end single-family homes to be built on part of the perimeter of the town’s privately owned 18-hole golf course, which despite rumors to the contrary will remain open.
“This will help the country club be sustainable,” said Jeff Holmers of the Holmers Group, which is overseeing sales for the project. “Not all golf courses are closing.”
The project may be smaller than other developments in the west metro town, but it’s a big deal for the country club, which dates to 1922.
In Minnesota, 18 golf courses have closed across the state since 2006, including the Minnetonka Country Club in Shorewood, which shut down Dec. 31 after 98 years. It’s now slated to become 121 luxury homes.
Last year, the owner of the 18-hole Lakeview Golf Course in Orono closed it, and 46 homes are expected to be built there. Nearby, 61 homes are under construction at the former nine-hole Red Oak Golf Course in Minnetrista, and 156 homes are expected on Plymouth’s former 18-hole Elm Creek Golf Course.
But in Medina, country club president Scott Peterson said the business is doing well and now will be even more stable with the development of land just outside of the golf course. It’s hoped that the housing development will draw new members, he said. Also, “We’re certainly happy it finally came together,” Peterson said. The development “was kind of a means to an end to get the land back.”
The project had been in the works for years, added Don Rachel, CEO of Rachel Contracting. “They’ll finally control their own destiny,” he said.
After some nearby residents opposed plans and the city’s Planning Commission unanimously denied a recommendation for the plans, developers reduced the number of villas from 54 to 35 and added eight single-family homes to reduce the density as well as a nearly 9-acre nature preserve and park. A split Planning Commission still denied recommending approval for the project, but the City Council unanimously approved general plans in December for the planned unit development.
Final plans for the Villas at Medina Golf and Country Club (villasatmedinacc.com) are now expected to go to the City Council for approval in April. Construction could start as soon as May, with the first homeowners moving in by December at the soonest.
The villas — one-level, detached townhouses — are likely to be priced from $700,000 to $900,000 and are aimed at empty nesters and baby boomers, Holmers said. The eight single-family homes are likely to be priced at $1.1 million to $1.6 million, he said, drawing more families to the area — and the golf course.
“Bringing kids golfing is critical to the success of the golf course,” he said, adding that it’s one of the youngest clubs in the country in terms of the average age. “They’re one of the few that are profitable … and doing well.”