WARNER ROBINS -- City Council will discuss a proposal to buy the Landings Golf Club on Thursday in a closed session following the regular precouncil meeting, Mayor Chuck Shaheen said at a meeting with the golf course’s owners.
“If you look at the pros and cons, there’s a lot of pros in this,” Shaheen told the owners.
Shaheen, who was skeptical of the idea earlier this week, seemed to have changed his mind about a possible acquisition of the golf course during a Wednesday meeting where owners described the facility, its financial situation and the perks of ownership.
Ed Wolfe, chairman of the board of directors of Landings Investment Group, said the Landings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. He declined to comment on the details of the bankruptcy after the meeting.
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“I’m to come up with a reorganization in 120 days,” Wolfe told the city officials at the meeting. “I’m simply exploring options, and selling (the course) to the city is one of those options.”
According to the Dec. 5 bankruptcy filing, the Landings owes its top 20 creditors about $3.7 million, including about $2.7 million to mortgage lender Peach Loanco Grantor Trust and $170,000 in property taxes to Houston County.
It was unclear from Wednesday’s meeting whether the city would have to pay off the Landings’ debt in the event of an acquisition. Shaheen said no purchase amounts have been discussed.
Few details have been hashed out. Ideas were thrown around the table about how the city would run a course that sits in an unincorporated Houston County neighborhood.
Though annexing the Statham’s Landing subdivision was discussed, Shaheen said annexation is not on the table right now.
“If it gets out there that the city wants to annex Landings, there’s going to be a big uproar,” Shaheen warned the Landings group members.
During the meeting, which also was attended by Building Authority members, the city’s golf pro Jarred Reneau and Councilman Daron Lee, Wolfe said the course includes 18 active holes and nine that could be reopened. The course also has tennis courts, a swimming pool and a clubhouse, he said.
Shaheen said the Landings would give a more diverse parks and recreation experience to families.
However, on Monday Shaheen said he couldn’t see the city owning two golf courses, and an acquisition was unlikely.
The city currently owns International City Golf Course, which also has 18 holes and a clubhouse. It does not have tennis courts and a swimming pool.
City Attorney Jim Elliott said the city will make its final payment on the International City Golf Course this month.
“The ideal situation would be if someone came along and decided to purchase International, and we used those proceeds to buy Landings,” Shaheen said. He added after the meeting that any deal would have to be “a win-win for the city.”
The city spent about $30,000 last year on renovations to the International City Golf Course, which reopened in September.
Reneau -- who oversaw the details of the recent renovations at International City -- told city officials he wants to see the Landings’ operating budget, most recent environmental assessment and several other operational records before considering the purchase.
He said more renovations would need to be done to make Landings viable, including extensive rehabilitation of the nine closed holes.
“There’s a lot of things from a golf perspective that I would change about it,” he said.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives were used in this report.