New offer to purchase Beacon Hall Golf Club

There is a new offer to purchase the Golf course. I will reiterate, the sale of Beacon Hall would be a tremendous loss for the Town of Aurora. This golf course is one of the premier courses with many championships played there. And while The Town has no authority over the sale, I want to be clear that any development application to change the existing land use designations of Beacon Hall golf course lands would have to conform to the existing policies of the Town’s Official Plan.

A portion of the golf course is environmentally protected and development is prohibited. The remaining lands that are not environmentally protected would have to conform to the OPA 34 policy of two residential units per gross acre. Any development of the golf course lands would also have to meet LSRCA requirements as well as conform to the policies of Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

Read the full Globe and Mail article here:

At a time when most golfers are pulling their clubs out of storage, members of Beacon Hall Golf Club are fielding a new, $260-million offer for their Toronto-area property, the latest in a series of development proposals pitched at urban golf courses.

Harlo Capital, a Toronto-based real estate private-equity fund, bid for the 200-acre Beacon Hall property a week ago, according to an e-mail that the club’s board sent mid-week to its 260 members. The offer was made less than a month after members narrowly turned down a $250-million sale to developer Treasure Hill Homes. At the time, Golf Canada chief executive Laurence Applebaum said the decision made for “a good day for golf in this country.”

The flurry of activity at Beacon Hall, consistently ranked among the top 10 courses in Canada, reflects a residential real estate boom that sees frequent bidding wars among home buyers, and a Toronto market that saw the average price on a detached house soar 23 per cent over the past 12 months, to $1,371,791.

Harlo’s bid plays on the psychology of potential sellers: The club is owned by its members, and values their stakes at $1-million each.

Beacon Hall, which opened in 1988, draws heavily from the Bay Street financial community. Memberships cost $40,000 and $80,000, depending on when they were purchased, so the sale of the club represented a potential lottery-sized payday. The club’s board has been fielding buyout offers for more than two years, and the debate over the property’s future now splits the membership.

Last month, Beacon Hall’s members voted 63 per cent in favour of selling the property, in Aurora, Ont., to Treasure Hill. The club’s rules require that two-thirds of members approve its sale, so the offer was turned down after falling eight votes short of approval.

In a letter of intent, rather than a binding contract, Harlo offered to pay $110-million down. It then asked Beacon Hall members to accept a note for a $150-million mortgage that would initially pay 1.5-per-cent interest, and rise over time to 3 per cent. Harlo is pitching members on collecting interest payments that could potentially cover the cost of their annual golf fees. They could continue to play for the three to five years it is expected to take the developer to obtain the necessary permits.

In its e-mail to members, the Beacon Hall board said it would evaluate the offer and come back with a recommendation. Harlo and Beacon Hall executives declined to comment on the proposal.

Harlo has been involved in a number of condominium projects in Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener, and has ties to other major real estate players. Harlo chief executive Jeffrey Kimel previously worked at privately owned Westdale Properties, one of the country’s largest residential developers.

Three real estate industry sources said Harlo is expected to strike a partnership to develop Beacon Hall, or flip the property, if it is able to acquire the golf course. The Globe and Mail is not identifying these sources because they are not authorized to speak for Harlo or Beacon Hall.

Aurora Mayor Tom Mrakas has consistently opposed plans to redevelop Beacon Hall, but has also said that the municipality cannot block a sale. When members turned down the Treasure Hill offer in March, Mr. Mrakas said: “This is welcome news as Aurora retains this world-class golf course and the valuable green space that our community cherishes.”

Across Canada, a number of urban golf courses have been turned into neighbourhoods. However, these plans typically kick off battles that pit golfers and local residents against developers.

The most recent statistics from Golf Canada, the sport’s national governing body, said 51 courses shut down between 2015 and 2018, including 19 in Ontario. In the same period, 22 new courses were either launched or under construction.


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