City of Denver strikes $20M deal to buy Park Hill Golf Course

Park Hill Golf Club seen from the air. (BusinessDen file photo)

The City of Denver on Thursday announced a deal to buy the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course for $20 million.

Officials from Denver and the George W. Clayton Trust, which has owned the land since 1900,  announced Denver will purchase 80 acres for $10 million and lease-to-own another 75 acres for $10.5 million paid out over 30 years ($350,000 per year).

Clayton Early Learning CEO Charlotte Brantley said the nonprofit’s board has approved the deal.

Clayton leases the golf course to Texas-based operator Arcis Golf in a deal that expires at the end of 2018. Arcis pays Clayton $700,000 a year in rent – funds the nonprofit uses to support schools and educational programming.

The course loses money most years, according to Brantley and a representative from Arcis who spoke with BusinessDen earlier in the week.

Brantley said the course is unlikely to renew its lease in 2018 – risking an essential revenue source for the nonprofit.

Evan Dreyer, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Michael Hancock, said the initial $10 million would come from the Park to Platte Hill storm water detention budget. The city will use 20 to 25 acres of that chunk for storm water retention. Exact parcels have not been defined yet. But Brantley said the storm water area likely will be in the northeast corner because that portion of the course retains storm water.

“The city has made that clear for some time that’s a projected location for the Park Hill basin,” Brantley said.

The course currently is zoned as open space. The agreement requires the city to hold community meetings to determine the final use of the land. And per zoning laws, the city would need to create a master plan for the parcel before any rezoning or development.

Charlotte Brantley

Charlotte Brantley

“What we’re trying to do is provide as much flexibility for a future use, or future uses of the property,” Dreyer said. “There are not many properties like this left in the city.”

The city has the option to buy out the lease on the 75 acres before the 30-year term ends. Brantley also said that if Denver sells any parcel to developers, Clayton will get 75 percent of the proceeds.

The deal still needs several more signatures of approval.

Course operator Arcis has a right of first refusal on any sale – part of an agreement it inherited when it took over operations from another golf course management firm.

The deal also needs to go before a probate court because the land at Park Hill is operated by Clayton as part of a trust. Brantley said Clayton is working to get the agreement on the docket.

The $20.5 million deal also will need a final blessing from Denver city council. The proposal will go before council at a committee meeting Oct. 3.

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John Sturtz
John Sturtz
2 years ago

Denver City Council and our current Mayor have been very clear in the past: All land must be developed with high density housing and retail space on the first floor. The developers will make a bundle and our elected officials will get bribe money (‘campaign donations’)