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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Richmond’s Federal Club sold on the cheap

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        The Federal Club golf course outside of Richmond, VA, has been sold for just $2.6 million, just twice the asking price for one of the brick mansions in the upscale adjacent neighborhood.  A local businessman purchased the club and unsold adjacent properties from the bank that held the note on the bankrupt development.  The Bank of Essex had loaned more than $8 million to the original developers.

        Designed by Arnold Palmer’s group, the Federal Club golf course was intended to be the linchpin for one of the area’s upscale developments.  But through a toxic combination of a souring economy and overreaching by its developers, the golf course quickly turned into a white elephant.  After failed attempts to renegotiate the loan and opening the course to public play, the formerly private club declared bankruptcy.

        In a recent interview, new owner Chris Gilman said he was working quickly to restore course conditions; he also said he will retain the bentgrass turf rather than switching to the easier-to-maintain Bermuda.  In a recent interview, Gilman seemed to be much less interested in the adjacent properties than he is in the golf course.  Whether that means those properties will be available at deeply discounted prices remains to be seen, but those who are interested in a golfing lifestyle in Richmond, and have an appetite for a little risk, might consider a visit to play the course in a month or two.  I hope to do just that later this year and will report back.

        A 7 bedroom, 5 1/2 bath brick mansion in the heart of the community is listed for sale at $1.4 million.  The property is on more than 5 acres, enough for a couple of par 3s.

        You can read the interview with the new owner of the Federal Club by clicking here.


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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.