Plans for golf club disclosedChris Hanson’s informal offer of 65 acres to the Hudson School District is contingent upon the city playing a major role in the deal - the city would have to agree to build a new street from the Plaza 94 shopping center to Carmichael Road for the offer to hold.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Chris Hanson’s informal offer of 65 acres to the Hudson School District is contingent upon the city playing a major role in the deal.
Hanson’s spokesperson, attorney Jeff Redmond, said on Friday that the city would have to agree to build a new street from the Plaza 94 shopping center to Carmichael Road for the offer to hold.
The street, an extension of Ward Avenue, would run through the southern portion of the Hudson golf course which Hanson owns, and meet Carmichael Road between the Culver’s restaurant and the golf course clubhouse.
The offer also is dependent upon the city rezoning the property on both sides of the new street for commercial use, and waiving a restriction that the golf course property not be developed for 10 years.
Redmond returned a call from the Star-Observer on behalf of Hanson, whom Redmond said was in California.
The newspaper was seeking information about the Hanson family’s plans for the 141-acre Hudson Golf Club in the wake of their offer to donate part of the golf course as the site for a new school.
Redmond began by volunteering that the Hansons didn’t make the offer for the purpose of defeating a school district referendum to purchase the former St. Croix Meadows dog track property.
Rather, it was some informal conversations with Dennis Darnold, the city’s community development director, about the golf club and adjacent roads that led to the offer, Redmond said.
And those conversations were spurred by the fact that the golf club has continued to lose money since the Hansons purchased it in the spring of 2010.
“The Hansons have been trying to figure out what to do with the Hudson Golf Club. They bought it expecting it to make money – or at least pay for itself,” Redmond said.
But in spite of renovations to the clubhouse and other improvements, membership has continued to lag, along with revenue.
“If people would see the investment Chris made in the clubhouse, maintenance buildings and cart storage building, (they would realize) there wasn’t any intention to do anything but a golf course when they bought it,” Redmond said of the Hansons.
“It’s a tough business,” Redmond added, saying 600 golf courses across the country failed in the past year.
The Hansons decided to sell the clubhouse and some commercial property along Carmichael Road as a way of streamlining the operation and reducing expenses.
The idea, which still could come to fruition, was to operate the golf course out of the new metal cart-storage building near the Culver’s restaurant.
Redmond said it was in conversations with Darnold about dividing out the clubhouse and developing commercial sites on Carmichael Road that discussion turned to the possibility of extending Ward Avenue to Carmichael.
“In the process of that, it became apparent that this maybe is the only alternative the city has to relieve congestion at the Carmichael Road, Coulee Road, Exit 2 intersection,” Redmond said.
From there, talk turned to the possibility of the city putting a street across the golf course property and the Hansons donating acreage to the north to the school district.
Redmond emphasized that a formal offer of land to the school district hasn’t been made yet, and that Hudson City Council members haven’t been presented with a plan.
“All of this is very preliminary,” Redmond said. “We haven’t talked to any city fathers, other than Denny. And we have not submitted anything formal to the city.”
The City Council would have to agree to rezone the golf course property the Hansons would retain from the current one-family residential to commercial district.
Redmond said that when the membership association that owned the golf club prior to the Hansons disbanded, the agreement that the Hansons not do anything to interfere with the operation of the golf course for 10 years passed to the city.
The City Council can now waive that agreement if it determines it is in the public’s best interest, Redmond said.
He said the Hansons would hope to gain financially by selling commercial building sites along the new street.
When the abundance of empty storefronts in the Hudson area was noted, Redmond said the Hansons recognize that the development would be a long-term investment.
He said no residential development has been considered. He speculated that there wouldn’t be room left for it after a street is constructed and property is donated to the school.
Redmond said he thought the clubhouse could be incorporated in a convention center that would include a new hotel. In the past, the Hansons have attempted to bring a well-known, upscale restaurant to the clubhouse, he added.
The building would also be appropriate for business offices, Redmond said.
Greystone Commercial, a real estate services company based in Bayport, Minn., has the clubhouse listed for sale.
New information was posted recently on the for sale sign along Carmichael Road saying that the clubhouse and five to seven acres are available.
“Will divide,” the sign adds.
Kevin J. LaCasse of Greystone is named as the real estate agent to contact.
Redmond said the five to seven acres could be divided into two or three lots.
Stevens Engineering of Hudson is at work on a concept development plan for the entire 141-acre golf course, according to Redmond. He said the plan will lay out possible locations for the proposed street, school property and commercial property.
The concept plan will be submitted to the city for its reaction when it is completed, Redmond said.
If the City Council reacts favorably, a formal preliminary plat of the property boundaries might follow.