Westchester club sells for at least $13.5M to municipality

Willow Ridge CC to become semi-private

After struggling financially for almost ten years, Willow Ridge Country Club in tony Westchester County, New York, has a new owner that should bring financial stability to the track. The Town of Harrison reached an agreement with members of the private club to acquire it for $13.65 million, the Westchester Magazine reported.

This “advance payment agreement” allows the town to take upon payment, but club members retain the right for three years to challenge the price in court. Harrison officials had threatened in November to take over the club through eminent domain. That could come back to bite the municipality. As of April 7, the Town had not paid the club. 

Willow Ridge had discussed selling to a home builder, as its 121 acres are zoned for one-acre single family homes. That led an appraiser to value the land at $52 million. But it’s not worth as much as a golf course and private club. 

According to IRS forms, the club has lost money every year since 2012. It’s 2019 form shows it had revenue of $8 million and a loss of $702,000.  Its assets were listed at $15.3 million. Reports from The Journal News, a local business publication, said it has lost a number of members in the past year. 

The Town of Harrison plans to operate the club as a semi-private club, which would allow town residents to play the course. Memberships are expected to be priced around $5,000 and offered initially only to residents.

The Town also hopes to undertake capital improvements, including improving the irrigation system, drainage, and cart paths. It plans to hire a third-party management company to run the club. Troon advised it on the acquisition, finding that green fees could exceed $135.

The golf course was built in 1917, but was closed during part of the Great Depression and during World War II. The club was founded in 1965, but did not own the land until 2013, when it bought out a long-term lease for $5 million. 

The 2013 Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” shot scenes at Willow Ridge.

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