Weekly Feature

2016-03-16 / Front Page

Supervisor updates Glen Oak purchase process

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Supervisor Barry Weinstein said that as the town is moving forward in efforts to purchase Glen Oak Golf Course, requests for proposals will be developed during the next several months as part of the transaction.

During Monday’s work session, the supervisor said the town would possibly close on the purchase of the golf course in December.

“An appraisal of the value of the property is still needed, and for that we need an RFP,” he said.

The supervisor said any appraisals needed for the transactions would be conducted by an outside company, not town officials.

Glen Oak is located at 711 Smith Road off Millersport Highway. In a November unveiling of the proposal, Weinstein said he and the course’s owners had been informally discussing the possibility of the town purchasing the property. The supervisor estimated the purchase price of Glen Oak to be $4.6 million.

According to his plan, Weinstein said the cost of the transaction could be paid for by reconfiguring Audubon Golf Course and selling — for the purposes of development — approximately 25 to 75 acres of land adjacent to Millersport Highway and the University at Buffalo.

He said the Assessor’s Office estimates that the property could be worth up to $200,000 per acre. An RFP would be needed for the appraisal of the property.

Weinstein said an RFP would also be needed for the professional management of the Glen Oak property, which would include the clubhouse and the course. He said the Recreation Department will be assisting in developing the RFP.

Additionally, the supervisor said a State Environmental Quality Review would need to be conducted of the 75-acre property adjacent to Audubon Golf Course.

Another item requiring an RFP, Weinstein said, would be the potential development of the Audubon property.

“This development would need an RFP from potential buyers of Audubon,” Weinstein said. “The Recreation Department said it would assist in the reconfiguration of Audubon Golf Course to help with this.”

Weinstein also updated the Town Board on several new developments concerning the former Westwood Country Club property, which is owned by Mensch Capital Partners.

In July 2014, Mensch officials submitted plans to the town for a $238 million redevelopment of the site, which formerly included a golf course and clubhouse. The property is located at 772 N. Forest Road.

Weinstein said the town recently received a written offer from Mensch officials that suggested a swap of a portion of Westwood for all of Audubon Golf Course. He said the offer also agreed to remediate contamination of both Westwood and Audubon and pay for the purchase cost of Glen Oak.

“The offer also said that they wanted to keep 25 acres of Westwood for development where the clubhouse is in order to qualify for brownfield cleanup tax credits,”

Weinstein said. “I replied by telling [Mensch] that our plan is to develop 75 acres of Audubon and not access it to Maple Road.”

Andrew J. Shaevel, managing partner of Mensch Capital Partners, said the Westwood site must be remediated before it can be repurposed for any use.

“A second fact is that some form of development will be required at Westwood to enable a cleanup of the site and its contamination,” Shaevel said. “There are multiple paths to a solution that addresses the interests of the various stakeholders, but it will likely require all parties to compromise.”

Weinstein said he didn’t believe it would be “economically feasible to trade developable Audubon land for 150 acres of Westwood.”

Shaevel said Mensch’s offer would “remediate and preserve 150 acres of green space at the former Westwood Country Club, provide the town a replacement 18 hole golf course (Glen Oaks), reserve adequate land to enable the town to expand recreation fields adjacent to the Northtown Recreation Center, as well as expand the flood mitigation project adjacent to the Bike Path.

“This plan is in keeping with the vision established by the town’s own Comprehensive Plan,” Shaevel said.

Also in his updates, the supervisor said the Army Corps of Engineers reported to the town that man-made wetlands on the Westwood property are not connected to each other. However, the corps installed a new valve in the ground as added protection from future flooding.

The Town Board’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the Council Chambers at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

email: kdepriest@beenews.com

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