CALGARY — The golf course behind Wayne Carroll’s backyard has put up a for-sale shingle for would-be condo developers. Asking price is $11.5 million.
He’d rather the Highland Golf and Country Club’s nine holes not get redeveloped, but given how close the site is to downtown Calgary, he said he’s trying to be realistic and not think of his northern and western vistas.
“It’s selfish reasons, and I don’t know if I should be selfish,” the 20-year resident of Highland Park said. “At some point in time, a space of this particular nature has to be used for residential purposes.”
The idea plays right into city hall’s mantra of redeveloping existing areas instead of outward sprawl — and would leave Calgary with about two dozen remaining public and private courses for duffers inside city limits.
Any buyer of the nine-hole course would become Calgary’s second developer trying to turn fairways and greens into a tree-ensconced neighbourhood. But from the sound of early community reaction, its developer may not see the same pushback as the builder of the now-closed Shaw-Nee Slopes course has faced.
That south Calgary community has mounted a strong opposition, hiring its own consultants recently to devise a counter-plan to Geo-Energy Development’s application for 1,400 housing units.
In Highland Park, the community association is watching and waiting to see if a sale happens.
Anne Plaumann, association president, said it wouldn’t necessarily oppose the redevelopment if traffic woes didn’t spike and a significant green corridor maintained.
The community boasts little public green space, aside from a small triangle park and school yards.
“People would like to take their dog for a walk and go and play Frisbee with their kids, and there’s limited spot for that,” Plaumann said. “At the moment you can’t use the green space (on the golf course). It’s nice to have the greenery there, and the trees. Everyone can see at the moment that with the driving range closed, it’s kind of a dead zone now.”
The private Highland course’s phone number is no longer connected, and it hasn’t opened for the season. It’s unclear if it will, at all.
“We haven’t really come to a decision because, as you know, this small golf course loses money every year,” said Wayne Adderson, who co-owns the course with two siblings.
The Addersons tried to sell it for nearly $20 million during the last boom, but the Oregon-based brother said they’re more serious now, listing with commercial real estate giant Colliers International.
Two “very community-oriented developers” have expressed interest, Wayne Adderson said of the golf course his father developed along with the community itself. Any new scheme would likely have ample open spaces, he predicted.
“We’d like to think our dad would be proud of how (redevelopment) would benefit the community.”
Plaumann said residents have worries about how condo buildings would affect the Nose Creek tributary that runs beneath the course. There is also a utility corridor on the 17-hectare course property, which straddles Centre Street, Ald. Gael MacLeod noted.
An older proposal for the land features the waterway unburied and kept as public green space, MacLeod said.
The proponents of the Shawnee Park are “hopeful” their development will go to Calgary planning commission this spring, consultant Ray Clark said.
The community association, which had asked the city at one point to buy that course, has no standing to formally propose its own development pitch.
It’s taken Geo-Energy three years from purchase of the course to get to the planning commission.
Clark said there aren’t likely other Calgary golf courses that would be redeveloped, because few others are owned privately rather than by their club members.
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