Fayette County

Mortgage holder Whitaker Bank buys Andover golf course for $2.95 million

Houses near the ninth green at Andover Golf and Country Club in Lexington. The golf course, which closed in February, was sold Monday for $2.95 million to its mortgage holder, Whitaker Bank.
Houses near the ninth green at Andover Golf and Country Club in Lexington. The golf course, which closed in February, was sold Monday for $2.95 million to its mortgage holder, Whitaker Bank. palcala@herald-leader.com

Andover Golf Course and Country Club, which closed and went bankrupt in February, was sold to its mortgage-holder, Whitaker Bank, on Monday afternoon for more than $2.9 million in a master commissioner’s sale.

The master commissioner’s listing for the property, at 3375-3450 Todds Road, had set the amount to be raised at $3.2 million, including interest, charges and costs.

“We already had it (the property), but we’re just preserving our ownership,” bank president Thomas Hinkebein said after the sale.

Hinkebein said the bank wants the property to continue to be run as a golf course. The bank held a credit interest in the property before; now it’s the owner, but could sell its successful bid to someone else.

Hinkebein had said in February that the bank’s goal was to have “a nice country club out there, and for us not to own it.”

Andover Golf and Country Club runs through several east Lexington neighborhoods, and some residents in the area are concerned about what might come of the property, according to WKYT. If the area is developed, some residents fear that they will lose the green space and amenities that come with a golf course. Others had feared that properties in the area won’t sell if the golf course isn’t preserved.

Ball Homes and Lochmere Development Corp. had tried to cancel the sale sought by Whitaker Bank, according to court records. They accused the bank of trying to “ram” through a foreclosure and sale in less than 60 days. Ball and Lochmere have sought to protect their interests that the property remain a golf course, records show. They maintained that they had first dibs on buying the property before auction. Ball Homes and Lochmere developed the surrounding neighborhoods.

On April 17, Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael ordered the master commissioner sale and said the 169-acre property must be sold intact and cannot be split up. The order also appears to uphold Ball Homes and Lochmere’s right “of first refusal to purchase the leased property and improvements,” and Ball Homes’ argument that the property should continue to be operated as a golf course.

“Our position has been that there are restrictions of record that this property has to be continuously operated as a golf course,” said Trip M. Redford, an attorney for Ball Homes. “We designed this development as a golf course. That’s what we want.”

After the master commissioner’s sale, Redford said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the bank would arrange a sale to an organization that would run the property as a golf course. Ball and Lochmere have already developed a golf course once, Redford said, and for the neighborhood’s sake they want to have the golf course operating.

In court records, Ball Homes argued that a 1988 lease signed with the company that developed the country club and golf course gave Ball Homes and Lochmere the right to buy back the land for 30 years.

Last week, several neighborhood and homeowner associations sought to intervene in the case.

The bankruptcy and sale of the golf course has spawned three lawsuits. Ball Homes has filed a separate lawsuit asking a judge to enforce the deed restrictions making sure that Whitaker or whoever buys the property maintains it as a golf course.

The property has been appraised at $2.4 million.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman