Business

Birkdale moves a step closer to a Mulligan

Rendering supplied by Gustafson Partners

The Huntersville Town Board has approved the zoning changes needed for an ambitious $45 million improvement and expansion plan at the Birkdale Country Club to proceed. The project covers 19.5 acres at the southeast corner of Birkdale Commons Parkway and Sam Furr Road and includes a hotel.

The applicant, Romspen Investment Corp., is one of the largest non-bank industrial and commercial mortgage lenders in Canada. It owns the club under the name Birkdale Investors. They are planning a new mixed-use center on the property, while also performing approximately $1 million in improvements to the Birkdale Golf Club course itself and the clubhouse.

Also in the works: A six-story hotel. The Huntersville Board approved a special use permit to allow Birkdale Investment to build a 140-room hotel; four stories is usually the highest allowed.

One part of the existing complex which will not survive the improvements is the driving range located just east of Birkdale Commons Parkway and runs along the south side of Sam Furr Road.

“The driving range is right where the expansion project is, so the range, along with its high protective fence, will disappear” said Principal Town Planner David Peete.

Peete noted, however, that the owner could build a new driving range in the future, though that’s not currently in the plans.

In addition to the hotel, the development project includes two buildings with 210 units; over 68,000 square feet of commercial space in three separate structures; and a multi-tier parking lot.

The rezoning is relatively minor. According to Town Clerk Janet Pierson, Commissioner Danny Phillips was recused from the deliberations because of traffic changes that would be necessary at Beatties Ford Road at Gilead Road where he owns property.

The major access thoroughfare for the project would be a new road running diagonally through the property from Sam Furr Road to Birkdale Commons Parkway, aligning with the Lindholm Road intersection at Sam Furr Road.

Five of the new buildings would be on the interior side of the new road, following a route directly in front of the proposed apartment building adjacent to the golf course and the renovated clubhouse before connecting to Birkdale Commons Parkway.

“While this approval completes the first step, the applicant still needs to confer with the DOT with regards to the Hwy. 73 widening project,” Peete said. “They will also need to submit construction plans to our department prior to the start of any work.”

If the required steps are completed expeditiously, work could begin by years end. Romspen has owned Birkdale since 2015,

According to Mecklenburg County records, Romspen paid approximately $49,700 in taxes last year when the club carried a tax value of $4.4 million. However the new value after reassessment has dropped to $ 2.4 million.

The applicant, Birkdale Real Estate Investors LLC is using the design firm of Cole, Jenest and Stone, which has been involved in many significant development projects in other areas of the Golden Crescent including Davidson.

Located on 200 acres just south of Sam Furr Road, Birkdale is a 7,013 yard, 18-hole, par 72 Arnold Palmer designed golf course. In addition to the course itself, Birkdale has several meeting and reception spaces including two conference rooms, as well as the Palmer Pavilion, which has been the scene of numerous wedding receptions and other large events in the Lake Norman region over the years. The project would include the rebuilding of most of these Birkdale amenities, which were originally built in 1996.

Birkdale Golf Club is showing its age. At previous community meetings and public hearings several local residents were pleased that long-awaited improvements appear to be happening.

“The staff has always been professional and has gone out of their way to make sure every single detail is taking care of,” said Debbie Dalton of the HD Life Foundation. “Our Golf Tournament has been hosted there for three years and we have received nothing but positive feedback from everybody that participates.”

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