While one longstanding Prairie Village country club has fallen to market pressures and recently closed its doors, another — Homestead Country Club — remains open thanks to the sale of part of its property and investment from a development group.
Meadowbrook Country Club closed for good Oct. 31. Only one or two previously planned events will take place there as the club at 9101 Nall Ave., awaits development.
Meanwhile, the Homestead Country Club at 6501 Mission Road, announced that it has successfully fought off a similar fate.
Homestead, known primarily as a tennis club, sold six acres of its frontage property to Evan Talan Development. That land will be divided into lots for 11 homes. Construction is expected to begin late spring or early summer, said Cory Childress, president of Evan Talan.
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Proceeds from the sale, plus an arrangement with Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners, will keep the club afloat.
Homestead, built in 1952, had been working on a plan to stay open since its $3.1 million bank note was sold earlier this year. Jeff Alpert and Melanie Mann of Park Place Properties bought the loan. Alpert and Mann were interested in building 25 to 30 single-family homes on the land.
But club leaders decided to fight. The club declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. Last week club officials announced that Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners, a group of five real estate developers, will fund the payment of the note to Alpert and Mann.
The sale leaves the club with almost nine acres. Cydney Nelson, president of Homestead, said club leaders are working on “right sizing” for the club’s long-term viability. For instance, the original clubhouse and possibly one of the 16 tennis courts will be demolished. But the social events will continue in remodeled space of the current fitness center.
The club will continue to offer the tennis and swimming its members love, but will not keep trying to compete for outside catering and banquet business, said Nelson.
The partnership with the sustainable development group has also been key, Nelson said. Kansas City Sustainable Development is known for projects to adapt vacant Kansas City schools for reuse. The former Swinney Elementary School west of the Country Club Plaza is a recent example.
E. F. “Chip” Walsh, managing member of that group said it invested in the club because such clubs are “an important part of the social fabric of northeast Johnson County,” and not because the group is looking for a fast return on its investment.
All five developers in the group are former members of the now-closed Rockhill Tennis Club, Walsh said.
“We see the value of these clubs. That’s our motivation. We understand why they’re passionate and why they keep going,” Walsh said.
The club’s announcement came as welcome news to Michael Lisson, a Prairie Village resident who grew up going there and has held a family membership for more than 20 years. “I think what this shows is the true sense of community at Homestead,” he said.
Lisson said his family loves the tennis and the special children’s events. Although six acres will be lost to development, he said he is happy because the club will keep all the events and amenities it has for members. He’s optimistic that the club will be able to build its membership back up.
Meanwhile Meadowbrook’s buyer, VanTrust Real Estate, is still working out its plans for development of that club’s 63-acre property. The real estate company bought the property in 2010 and kept it open until last month. The club had an 18-hole golf course, among other amenities. It was established first as the Bel-Air in the 1940s.
Jeff Smith, vice president of asset management for VanTrust, said the company is still finalizing its plans for development, which will include green space and homes. He said he hopes to introduce the plan to city officials before the end of this year.