Twin Falls Golf Club is the latest property in Westbrook to fall into the development pipeline.
The course on Spring Street, opened in 1970, is under contract to be purchased by the Priority Real Estate Group of Topsham and will most likely be developed into a residential project.
Jim Howard, the president and CEO of Priority Real Estate, confirmed Tuesday that his company has the property under contract. However, he said, it’s early in the process, and the company doesn’t have immediate plans to head to the Westbrook Planning Board.
“We plan on doing a residential project there, but we’re not sure when,” he said. “We had the opportunity to purchase the property, and it’s a great piece of property.”
For Westbrook, the potential development signals yet another large prospect for growth, and in an area that is already seeing significant development. Just across the road, Risbara Bros. has been constructing its Blue Spruce Farm subdivision since the fall of 2015. The project, with its apartment buildings and multiple single-family homes, is easy to spot and still growing.
Behind the Twin Falls parcel, Northbridge Companies operates the Avita of Stroudwater memory care facility, and is constructing its 95-unit Stroudwater Lodge senior living project. A road connecting Spring and Stroudwater streets will be completed this summer as part of that project.
Howard said the Spring Street land, with its rolling hills and abutting river, is “a great setting.”
According to city assessing information, the property is 69.3 acres and is valued at $934,900. The property is zoned residential.
Howard said Priority Real Estate already has a relationship with Northbridge, selling the company land in Brunswick for its Brunswick Landing project and new memory care facility. But, he said, they have no plans to use the Twin Falls land to expand assisted living.
Priority Real Estate is invested largely in commercial projects. Recent work includes the redevelopment of the former armory building in South Portland.
Twin Falls, a 2,700-yard, nine-hole course, is the second course to close in Westbrook. This past winter, Rivermeadow Golf Club on Lincoln Street announced it would not be opening for the 2016 season, and owner Bob Adam has said that he is exploring his options for selling the property.
No sales announcement has been made by Twin Falls. Its website has not been updated in some time, and calls to Kathryn Boullie, who owns the course, were not returned by the American Journal’s print deadline Wednesday.
Bill Baker, the assistant city administrator for business and community relations, said he sent letters to both Boullie and Adam about their land, as he does with many large property owners in the city.
Baker said the city has tried to find a balance between growth and environmental stewardship.
“Housing is clearly important and necessary to support economic growth and we respect the rights of private landowners to develop their land within the land use rules the city has established,” he said in an email Tuesday. “That said, there are certainly people in the city worried about the impact of growth on services, including schools and public safety.”
The Westbrook School Department has been following the Blue Spruce development closely, although there is little evidence that it has had much of an impact on enrollment – yet.
In his letter to Boullie, Baker thanked Twin Falls for its commitment to the Westbrook community, and said the city is aware of the pressures being faced by large land owners. But, he also asked Twin Falls to consider giving the city “first refusal” on the property.
“We would like to ask if you are presented with a bona fide offer to consider offering the city of Westbrook the right of first refusal and the opportunity to assess the political will, financial resources and collaborative partnerships that might be available to help preserve your land as open space,” he said.
Baker said he was never contacted by Boullie.
Jennie Franceschi, Westbrook’s city planner, said Wednesday that the city hasn’t received any concrete plans from Priority Real Estate, and that the company is doing “due diligence.”
“They are talking to abutters and evaluating the current housing economy,” she said.
At Blue Spruce, the foundations for four more 12-unit apartment buildings are under way, and the company has expansion plans of its own. Bill Risbara told the American Journal last week that the company is under contract to acquire 50 additional acres behind its current parcel.
The company is on the May 3 Planning Board agenda to amend its site plan, which would replace the condominium project with more apartment buildings. Risbara said a tentative plan would be to use the new parcel for the condo project.
For Risbara, the apartments have been a hit, showcasing the need for housing in Greater Portland. Within the first few months, and with only one building open, there were already 35 confirmed tenants of the first four 12-unit buildings.
As for the new project, Risbara said that’s coming soon.
Twin Falls Golf Club, at 364 Spring St., is under contract to be sold. The potential buyer, Priority Real Estate, plans a residential development for the site.
Twin Falls Golf Club has been in operation since 1970, when it was owned by Albert Young. The nine-hole 2,700-yard course is known for its rolling hills.
Traffic flows Monday on Spring Street next to Twin Falls Golf Club, which lies just across the street from the expansive Blue Spruce Farm residential subdivision that is under construction.