Six neighborhood associations have voted to buy Andover Golf and Country Club from Whitaker Bank for $3.15 million.
The vote reflected the will of a majority of Andover area residents to protect the green space from possible development, said Nathan Billings, a lawyer who represented an alliance of neighborhoods.
“It’s historic in the sense that the neighbors have said, ‘We want more green space in Lexington. We don’t want it developed. And we are willing to buy and maintain that property to have that benefit.’”
Billings said he doesn’t know of another neighborhood in Lexington “that will have almost 150 acres of private park that they will own and maintain.”
The associations casting their votes on different dates last week were Andover Neighborhood Association, Andover Forest, the Villas at Andover, Golf Townhomes I of Andover, Golf Townhomes of Andover Estates Section, and the Reserve at Andover.
The two biggest associations were Andover Neighborhood, which voted 539-89 to approve, and Andover Forest, which voted 324-43 to approve, Billings said.
Homeowners will pay special assessments for the purchase and maintenance of the joint common property.
The golf course, completed in 1990, filed for bankruptcy and closed last year. Whitaker Bank bought the course for $2.95 million at a master commissioner’s sale in April 2017. The bank and the alliance of neighborhood associations announced they had reached an agreement on May 31.
Now that the associations have voted, the next step is to close the $3.15 million deal, Billings said. That should happen in mid-July.
The purchase will be accomplished in five separate transactions.
Andover Forest will buy holes 1-9 of the golf course; Andover Neighborhood will buy holes 11-17; Golf Townhome Estates will buy a 200-foot buffer on the driving range; and the Villas at Andover will buy the 10th hole and a buffer on the 18th hole.
The fifth buyer is a new entity called Andover Common Property that will buy the clubhouse parcel of about 10 acres, a driving range of about 7 acres and part of the 18th hole.
Andover Common Property’s intent is to turn around and sell those parcels because it doesn’t want to be in the ownership or management business.
Potential buyers have already expressed interest in the parcels, Billings said.
Once the purchase has closed, “we will be soliciting requests for proposals for the sale of the clubhouse parcel, the driving-range parcel and part of the 18th hole,” he said.
There is some discussion about incorporating aspects of a “wellness community” into the Andover property to encourage a stronger connection to nature and physical activity, Billings said. Wellness communities are a rising trend in real estate in the United States and around the world.
“One of the takeaways from this is: Everyone can talk about Fayette County wanting to add density everywhere, and this shows that people maybe don’t agree with that,” Billings said.
“People like having green space in their backyard. People like access to trails. People are sometimes willing to pay some extra money to have more green space.”