From the Aurora Advocate

and from the Plain Dealer

Aurora– The Aurora Golf and Country Club closed late Thursday, but its president says it might reopen within a few days as a public course after a new lender finalizes financing arrangements.
On Friday afternoon, Scott Brubaker, president of the member-owned club, confirmed that the club had decided to cease operations. A group of private investors is negotiating with a buyer to take over and operate it as a public course, he said.
“I believe the new investors have a great vision for the property and are committed to making this course a great asset to all the citizens of Aurora,” said Brubaker. “It’s a beautiful golf course, and our goal has always been to see it remain as a golf course.”
The group of private investors is called Aurora Recreation LLC and one of them is Aurora resident Hunter Banbury, according to Brubaker.
Banbury could not be reached to comment by press time.

21 Comments on Aurora Country Club Closes

  1. Thurston Howell III says:

    What WILL Lovey and I do now?

  2. GL guy says:

    Watch for the city to buy this golf course. I believe there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes.

    Instead of bike paths and swimming pools and other improvements the city will buy this golf course to bail out the current country club members. Did their land that was for sale a while ago sell?

    The land probably has little value for residential as most of it sits in a flood plain.

  3. Gavorski says:

    I’m a bit confused GL guy. We were members. How will that bail us out? Trust me, the members would prefer it would stay a private club but that is not possible at this point. The rumor (& I stress rumor) is that the city is going to take over the pool too.

    The land did not sell because of the current housing market.

    If the city used Grantwood as a model for a city buying a golf course then they will do very well. Grantwood has been very successful as a city run course and the AGCC course is a better course than Grantwood.

    Only time will tell. It is a sad time for a club that has been in the city for so long.

  4. GL guy says:

    Don’t members become stockholders in the corporation? The initiation fee makes you a stockholder.
    The club has expenses to pay and it seems like they are not making a profit, so the expenses exceed the revenue. Won’t club members gain at least their initiation fees back?

    Is this correct? I am not a member.

    Without the current investors wouldn’t the club have gone under and the property sold at Sheriff’s sale?

    I am glad the property is not going for more housing. The city buying this is not an inherently bad idea. Would the community center/indoor pool be built there also? More public golf courses are a better.

    And that this is part of an overall master plan, not just a quick way to spend some of the city surplus from the tax increase a few years ago.

    Grantwood has been experiencing financial problems lately (google it). However the “new” factor of ACC should draw players for a number of years, before boredom sets in. But weather is a real factor in profitability. Would the city lease the land to someone to run it or would it become a city department? What about the various retaining walls that need repair and the daily upkeep. How will operating costs and capital expenditures be handled?

    I hope to see more public discussion before the city pays 3 million for the Club. And i hope the “investors” purchase and sale is public. Their 30% profit in real estate is pretty nice!! But i believe that they are buying the city time to get it’s ducks in a row.

    In addition the sled-riding hills ought to be reopened if the city buys the land. And walking/bike trails could be established to tie residential areas into the Audubon property and Sunny Lake.

    There is much potential in this deal.

  5. Gavorski says:

    Some of the members are stock holders and many are not. Initiation fees were dropped some time ago to encourage new membership.

  6. Aurora resident says:

    What a pile of crap. A few rich Aurora residents raiding the city’s coffers to profit at the expense of the taxpayer? Typical Republicans. If our stingy councilmen and mayor agree to this, they should all be strung up. The club went under because there already are too many golf courses in Aurora. Supply and demand. The city doesn’t need any more swampland.

  7. not a member says:

    FYI, I have a couple of relatives who were stockholders (dropped down to social voluntarily a year or so ago for other reasons) and they’ve been told the stock holders do not get ANY money back–initiation fees, stock fees, assesments, etc. The club is broke, B-R-O-K-E. In fact full members (stock) were asked a few months ago to prepay, and now they lose that money and any use of the club that money was intended for. Any money rec’d from a sale will go to paying off debts and it’s doubtful there will be enough to even cover the debts.

    I do agree that too many courses in Aurora (and the economy) contributed to the demise of ACC…just not enough demand. Too bad, I’m not a golfer but from what I hear it really is a nice course, better than Walden’s. My grandpa once played in a pro-am there in the 70’s w/the Golden Bear.

    City looked into purchasing this a while ago (last year?) and deemed it to expensive, but if they can get it at a cheaper firesale price now, in my opinion, more power to them. Run correctly this might actually be profitable for the city.

  8. olive says:

    It is a beautiful location. It seems very challenging. However there are many maintenance issues that i could see. There are many buildings to maintain and the greenspace needs constant upkeep. I understand that fertilizer and chemicals have just taken a large jump in price.

    If the city is interested (as it is just a rumor now) there is a lot to consider. Grantwood is Solon is facing financial pressures, but that course is flat and boring. As a public course, Aurora CC ought to attract a lot of attention and players for a while. A full financial plan ought to be public.

    There are additional benefits to the community like connectivity to Sunny Lake and a future rails to trails. The property ought to be more than just a golf course. The clubhouse could be used for additional community uses, (they could move city hall to that location! ;) ) but the pool seems kinda dinky for public use.

    I agree with GL guy on some of points, but i support the city buying land in any form, swamp or golf course. Too bad this wasn’t in the Recreation master plan The city is rolling in dough. And this purchase could make a lot of sense. Too bad full members lost their money.

  9. olive says:

    Who’s cutting down the large trees at the country club?

  10. Gavorski says:

    So what’s happening? Has it opened to the public?

  11. Oscar says:

    It’s beginning to look like the club is closed for the season although the grass is still being cut. Anyone heard anything

  12. Lisa Gorman says:

    I think it would be a boon for residents if the City purchased the property. I have a family and would really like to become a member to an Aurora-based pool rather than taking my money to a neighboring city to enjoy the recreational amenities that would be offered by this club. We don’t live in a neighborhood that has a pool or tennis facilities and we are not interested in becoming members of a country club either. I hope this is what will happen to the property. The very last thing we need in Aurora right now is another housing development which would further burden our already over-burdened school system.

  13. Aurora Grad says:

    I understand your thought process Lisa but the pool at the AGCC is not big enough to accommodate a city pool and there are no tennis courts there. AGCC members had reciprocity with another country club for tennis.

  14. olive says:

    I understand the course is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays in October.

  15. Lil Olive says:

    Me and Lil Popeye were talking this morning about this specific topic. The city of Aurora is only interested in this propery if they can have it for 1/2 mil or 1 million tops, it’s a market to make money in – yes, folks – you heard it here! 1 Million and not a dime more – it’s on the table and it’s being considered.
    1 million….

  16. cc says:

    does anyone know if the course is open? I cant get anyone to answer the phone.

  17. olive says:

    they are open fridays, saturdays and sundays in october i believe.

    I was told by a barber that the course is open to the public on Sat & Sun

  18. olive says:

    Aurora plans to buy and reopen Aurora Golf & Country Club, which closed last fall after months of falling membership and mounting debts.

    The city has agreed to buy the 226-acre property for $3.3 million. Aurora’s City Council discussed the deal at a meeting Monday night and could vote on the sale March 9. The transaction could close shortly after.

    “We’ve been working on this for over two years,” Mayor Lynn McGill said Tuesday. “We’re planning to lease it to an operating company, and they will attempt to run it as a golf course.”

    The property could reopen this year as a public club. If the club fails to attract golfers, then the city will preserve it as parkland and recreation space.

    The country club opened in 1925 and closed in September. Aurora Recreation LLC, a private investor group, took on the club’s debt and maintained the property during sale talks. The city plans to acquire Aurora Recreation’s stake for $3.1 million, plus roughly $200,000 in real estate taxes and closing costs.

    Portage County records place the property’s market value just above $3.5 million.

    McGill said Aurora will issue a note to cover the purchase and eventually retire the note by selling more than 60 acres elsewhere in the city. But land sales, particularly for residential development, have flagged since the housing bubble burst. So Aurora, which owns roughly 1,550 acres, probably won’t be unloading land soon.

    “We will wait until the market recovers here,” McGill said. “We’re not going to be selling at a loss.”

  19. olive says:

    I think this is a great thing for the city to do.

    But we also need a library!!!!

  20. Steve says:

    I guess that you cannot fight City Hall but you can question what they are doing.

    The Aurora Advocate had (2) stories of interest; a request for a Library Levy to maintain operating hours, the other story was that the City has decided to buy the golf Club for over $3 million.

    May I suggest that the voters of Aurora have a say in this Golf Club purchase.

    If money to keep the Library open is an issue, is not spending $3 million an issue also.

    We must recognize that the Golf Club is not financially sustainable. Otherwise the current owners would be still open. Is it the goal of Local government to take a financial interest in a failing proposition?

    Several local Golf Clubs are failing due to a demand for the sport. We have (2) existing Gold courses in Aurora is there a need for (3) one funded by local taxpayers.

    I have lived in Aurora for (20) years and I am not a golfer. I have no interest in using our local Tax dollars in supporting a failing Golf Club. In this land of free enterprise, let the free market rule. Our current financial times require extra caution providing city services, not excessive spending on financially risky ventures.

    Our Mayor does not sound confident of his decision, I quote Mayor McGill “ We know the golf Club would not be a moneymaker: we just hope we could cover costs”

    If Aurora City leaders have this level of confidence are we prepared to send our Tax money to support this?

    I do not think the business of Aurora is to invest our money in a financial venture that they admit is risky. The residents of Aurora should vote on this.

  21. Jeff says:

    This is a totally irresponsible and the worst possible move a city could make in these times. First off the golf business is in the worst shape since the depression. Golf courses are closing Second if the City is worried about the land being developed they are nuts. The property has been looked at by numerous developers over the last 5 years and it is not feasible to develop with all the ravines and wetlands. The price is way too high also. Banbury owns the debt on the course but he bought the debt for a discount. Tanglewood CC has been bought for 1.6 million, why is this land worth 3.3. The City should stay out of this. This will be nothing but a headache in which taxpayer money will be thrown away. The City should take this to a vote of the people. I am sure it would go down by 90%.