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The Newark Country Club completed a previously announced sale of its property to 300 West Main Street Associates (Lang Development) in what its president described as bittersweet.
The $ 6 million transaction allows the country club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, to lease the property through 2030 and add another 10 years.
The club will continue to operate as a non-profit organization under its own board.
“There is a bittersweet aspect to the successful completion of the sale of this property,” said Country Club President Chris Scherf in a press release. “Although we as owners of the club’s property could not continue indefinitely, we were able to avoid a permanent closure of the club and start a new chapter for another 10 to 20 years. We appreciate the Lang Group working with us to develop a novel solution. “
The sale will eliminate the club’s debt and longstanding financial troubles.
The fighting went back years and included a lawsuit by a member demanding the appointment of a recipient for the club that had suffered losses. The Chancellor’s Court rejected this claim. (Click the heading below)
The Chancellor rejects the shareholders’ request for a Newark County Club recipient
More than a decade ago, the club was slated to move to a new golf course across the state line in Maryland, with the Newark site becoming a housing estate.
However, the deal fell victim to the subprime mortgage crisis and a tough new home market.
The club has been hit by an aging membership and an overall decline in golf and country club lifestyle.
Competition intensified when Delaware Park opened a public course and more recently the new owners of DuPont Country Club spent tens of millions of dollars on the property near Wilmington.
The Covid-19 crisis didn’t help as Delaware has more restrictions than some states. As restrictions eased here and elsewhere, interest in golf and other outdoor activities increased, and there were signs of an even stronger turnaround in 2021.
The club will focus on improving the golf course and building its profile in the community as a center for banquets, fundraisers and other events.
“We have created a new position to market membership opportunities and raise public awareness of the possibility of holding events and parties in the club, whether they are members or not,” said Scherf.
The response to the sale was mixed.
Lang was the leading developer of student dormitories and in Newark, but has championed projects that critics say have changed the look of Newark’s university town.
Others have pointed to the club’s longstanding financial problems and the need for a solution that would not bring housing development to the property immediately.
The University of Delaware never showed any interest in the property, despite its endowment of more than $ 1 billion.