Turnberry POA Turns Thumbs Down on 240 Condo Plan at Country Club

The crowd at the Turnberry Property Owners Association meeting on December 15th.

Part of he crowd at the Turnberry Property Owners Association meeting on December 15th.

The Turnberry Property Owners Association Board, meeting at RedTail Golf Club, was packed with people from the over 300 homes in the Lakewood subdivision.

They were there to hear Lakewood Village Board President Erin Smith and Trustee Gene Furey tell what they knew about a Korean investor’s plan to turn the Turnberry Country Club into a upscale resort, complete with 240 condominiums and 60 rooms to be rented to those attending events.

Smith was speaking when I arrived about an hour late.

Erin Smith addressed the crowd. Village Trustee Gene Furey did, too.

Erin Smith addressed the crowd. Village Trustee Gene Furey did, too.

She said that the proposal is “the only one that could possibly consistent with the [subdivision] covenants.”

Before getting an attorney’s opinion, some thought the new construction would not even have to go to the Village Board.

Smith said the earliest a presentation could be made by the developer, J.P. Asset Management Company would be March.

She urged people to “keep enough of an open mind so we might have some opportunity to change something” and asked,

“What happens if we manage to chase this guy out of town?

“There are no other options.”

The Village President, who lives on one of the fairways, said, “The bank does not intend to open the country club next year.”

She said $1-2 million would buy acreage,plus another couple of million to rehabilitate the property.

“The Village cannot do anything with this property.”

That’s because of the subdivision covenants, which would take two-thirds of the property owners to change.

The same goes for the Crystal Lake Park District and the McHenry County Conservation District.  The fertilizer on the golf course would make it cost-prohibitive for the Conservation District to convert it to natural areas, she revealed.

“I’m not trying to scare people,” she added.[but} “the bank is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year I would guess.”

Smith stated that the idea was not hers.

“We are only the messengers.

“Gene and I live on this golf course.

“This is literally in my back yard.”

Furey pointed out that he had been on the committee that studied golf courses to try to improve the village-owner golf course, RedTail.

“Nobody was doing better than we were–30,000 rounds.”

“We have a viable business.

“Turnberry, if I had to guess, has 20,000 rounds.”

He told the crowd he would do whatever the people wanted him to do.

But, during the question period, Furey pointed out that Plum Tree Golf Course is now grown over and its clubhouse has deteriorated.

“Just keeping Turnberry mowed would run “well into six figures.”

“Now is the time to get whatever we want.”

Smith pointed out that the condos are “central to the model,” but that it would be considered by the Village Board as a Planned Unit Development, which would provide more control on the part of the Board.

The developer needs the revenue stream from condo assessments to make the project work.

“You will tell what us what we’ll be asking for,” she said.

“Nobody wants this to be affordable housing,” she added.

“Mr. Park just wants to build something he’s proud of.  He wants to have the best resort in the country,” Smith continued.

During the question and answer session, Smith referred to a “nuclear Holocaust,” by which she seemed to mean the result if the bank just walked away from the property.

She also said there was a strong possibility that the golf course would not open next year.

Then came questions.

One concerned whether the Park proposal would include RedTail.

“It’s not at the table at all,” the Village President replied.

Questions and comments then came from the audience concerning

    • Traffic – comment made that roads were not adequate.
    • Waste treatment –  treatment plant has adequate capacity’
    • Has an SSA been considered to finance the Country Club?  Up to the property owners association to put such an idea forward.
    • One woman commented that Park had done a good job at Barrington Shores Country Club.
    • The bank has kept Turnberry open so far because it is a community bank, but it can operate it for only three more years.
    • Highly skeptical that developer can get 250 units occupied full-time.
    • Once that gets in our property values are going to go down.
    • You had a meeting 2-3 weeks ago.  Criticism of lack of transparency.  Smith replied that she wanted to be able to answer questions and that was the reason for the delay.
    • Can they develop as a matter of right?  Smith seemed to reply with “maybe.”
Brian Young

Brian Young

  • Brian Young said he appraises hotels and golf courses.  “Just relax,” he said. ” Don’t take anything you see in the paper [as the truth].  I’ve yet to see anything like this remotely successful.  It’s a $50 million project.”  He said local “demand generators are extremely minimal.  I think the financing is going to be the biggest obstacle.  I don’t see it happening.”
  • Plan is totally inconsistent with the community.  To Smith:  “You seem like you’re leaning toward it.”
  • A Realtor pointed out that most condos in the area sell for less than $100,000.  “They aren’t selling for $300,000,” the price she pointed out of some homes in Turnberry.
  • “The solution is in this room,” a man said, then, suggested a Special Service Area assessment district be explored.  He didn’t like “the nuclear option.”
  • Alan Kanaby, President of the TPOA, but speaking as an individual, asked, “Why not say, ‘This dog won’t hunt.'”
  • “WinTrust [the bank] really doesn’t own the country club.  Another trust owns it.  They already had a $2 million cash offer.  It’s about getting $4 million.”

At this point a man asked for a show of hands of those who didn’t approve of the proposal.

Those opposed to the project were asked to raise their hands.

Those opposed to the project raised their hands.

And those in favor were asked to do the same.  None raised their hands.

Smith told the crowd that she would pass on the opinion, “While I don’t appreciate the sarcasm.

“If you don’t trust me to be the messenger, I’m fine with that.

“It has ruined my life this week.”

A man suggested all in the audience call the developer…”Do it in a professional manner.”

More comments:

  • “This golf course has to be purchased.  If you think someone is going to buy this and not make money, [you’re dreaming].
  • “We’re going to look at a weed patch if we don’t listen to a developer [who will save it].  We all have a vested interest in somebody making money at Turnberry…I don’t think it would solve much to throw this gentleman to the lions.”
  • “Property values are only going to get worse the longer this drags out.”
  • Drainage problems will get worse.
  • “Doubling the number of units in this community does not make sense.”
  • A man worried about light pollution, noting that street lights are not even allowed.
  • “We own Erin a thank you.”

Smith went home and Turnberry POA President Kanaby took over the meeting.

The Turnberry Property Owners Association Board, minus President Alan Kanaby.

The Turnberry Property Owners Association Board, minus President Alan Kanaby.

“I don’t think we want to chase a developer away,” he said, [but] the plan in front of us is unacceptable at any level.”

He pointed out that the 250 condos would almost double the current number of homes.

He also pointed to the possibility that Lakewood could have empty condos at Turnberry similar to the way Algonquin has at the main intersection Downtown.

“At some time somebody’s going to have to do something,” a board member stated.

Another expressed fear that the condos would become Section 8 housing.

“I don’t think this is the only game in town,” she added.

Board member John Schrauf observed, “The bank made a bad investment and they lost.  Their concerns are not our concerns.

“It’s still going to be a condo development in a single family development.

Furey said that the value of the deed when it went to the bank was $3.2 million and that when Turnberry and Barrington Shores were put up for auction together there were no bids.

“We’re smart people.  Please know we are on your side.”

A man in the audience said, “I don’t want negotiation.  Let’s kill it now.  I don’t want a commercial development in my neighborhood.”

Trustee Paul Serwatka, who stood silently until Smith left the room, said, “”I think we should cut it off before it grows legs.”

The POA Board is set to meet with its attorneys on Friday.

At the end of the meeting, Schrauf proposed a resolution opposing the development on the grounds that it did not fit in with the Lakewood motto of “Quality Living in a Natural Setting” and it “clearly violates the terms of the Turnberry subdivision covenants…that have been in effect for decades.

The motion passed 3-1 with two abstentions.  Kanaby did not vote.

Attending the meeting sitting in the back row was Dan Wilbrandt, one of two candidates for State Representative in the room.


Turnberry POA Turns Thumbs Down on 240 Condo Plan at Country Club — 10 Comments

  1. The golf course is going to have to go public.

    No one is interested in paying $30k/year to be a member of that dump when CLCC is right down the road, cheaper, and superior in every respect.

    Dissolve the private club, lease the golf course to a company that operates public courses, lease the dining room and kitchen to an up scale restaurateur, and be done with it.

  2. Look at the time line:

    Sunday, December 13 — Erin Smith contacts TPA to ask if she and Gene Furey can speak in their official roles at the TPA meeting on Wednesday, December 16.

    TPA is a private organization and so only members are invited to the meeting.

    No public notice of the presentation is made.

    Some — but not all — of the Village trustees are made aware of the proposal and the meeting.

    Tuesday, December 15 — Cal Skinner contacts the Village in the afternoon to ask for details concerning the proposed development and the meeting.

    One hour later the Village issues a press release announcing the proposed development and the meeting. The press release does NOT state when and where the meeting is to take place.

    Wednesday, December 15 — The day of the meeting, the Northwest Herald publishes a story about it. As word spreads, there is an uproar, with residents calling their Trustees and demanding facts.

    At 3:16 p.m. on Wednesday, less than four hours before the meeting, the Village issues an update to the Northwest Herald — but not published on the Village’s web site — stating that the location of the meeting has been moved to RedTail Golf Club.

    That evening at the meeting, Erin Smith tells residents, “there are no other options” than the proposal she and Gene Furey are presenting.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The facts make crystal clear that Erin Smith’s intent was to keep certain trustees and the public in the dark while she laid the groundwork for this development proposal, and that her plan quickly spiraled out of her control.

    This goes beyond gross disrespect to the public and to the trustees who were not informed.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    As for “no other options”, what Erin means is that SHE doesn’t KNOW of any other options at this moment.

    What that statement means is that Erin doesn’t understand that the law of supply and demand has not been repealed, and that viable options will emerge in time as demand improves and the price for the white elephant falls low enough.

    Or perhaps she DOES understand the law of supply and demand and it just isn’t moving quickly enough for her because she wants desperately to claim credit for SOME major development to happen on her watch.

    We can only hope she doesn’t spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on more made-as-instructed studies and that recommend a Turnberry TIF.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    One final note: If anyone has any facts on J.P. Asset Management Co., please let me know. I can’t find anything about them online – not even a web site!

  3. I am sure that there is something in this for Erin Smith and her cronies.

    Just like the “Sports Complex” where there were back room meetings and deals with her developer friends and mistruths to the public, this I am sure, is the same thing.

    Just the fact of how this all unfolded in such a mysterious and rushed fashion is typical Smith/Peterson antics.

    Try to bury things at the end of the agenda when everyone has left the room mentality has been in play for years and is not going to change until Smith and Peterson leave.

    The only difference this time is that this is closer to home and her neighbors are potentially really affected.

    I wonder how much of public funds were spent on this boondoggle i.e.: consultant/legal fees that we will never know about.

    Maybe ask Furey, he should know.

  4. Board members no matter where they serve, tend to go after more growth to raise revenue, so they can spend more, so they look good at getting things done, when it’s really about their desire to get reelected.

    If the economy was the way it was back in the 90s, maybe this would be a viable project, now not so much.

    With all the Nimby’s in that area, well! 🙂

  5. They should concentrate more on the minor league ball park and sportsplex!

  6. Does anyone know how to reach Brian Young?

    His comments show insight and expertise we need.

  7. This is an intriguing dilemma, since it sounds like that course could otherwise be mothballed.

    There are too many public courses around here, in better locations to make Turnberry viable as a public entity.

    Even if the neighborhood got talked into accepting this, as those condos would add tax dollars, would there really be demand in that remote a location?

    Don’t forget, Downtown Algonquin had a condo building go up, and when the economy caved, it did too.

    Someone else had to buy it, and convert to apartments.

    Is there another example in the region where this concept is successful?

    I can’t think of one.

    Condos are typically built in higher traffic areas, near a downtown or a train station.

    Does this developer have the numbers, and financing to accept demand?

    And those are small two lane roads leading up to what would be a considerable building.

    Would the village upgrade the infrastructure?

    If I live on that street, I’d understand the trepidation.

  8. To Steve Wilson – JP Asset Management is John Park’s (JP) private investment arm.

    To the rest of you:

    This is just my opinion, but from what I’ve seen and know, John Park’s vision is for a Korean enclave out in the northwest suburbs centered around a golf community.

    He attempted to do that when he bought Lake Barrington Shores Golf Club last year, but my suspicion is that his intended Korean clientele was turned off by the relatively high priced townhome/condo units and the high association fees that accompany them.

    Lake Barrington Shores hosted a number of outings for Korean groups earlier on in the season, but interest in them waned as the summer moved along and Korean play on the course mostly petered out by fall.

    I think Park has set his sights on Turnberry, because he believes he can build (and sell) his own, lower priced units around it to a mostly Korean clientele.

    Keep in mind that one of Park’s main businesses is real estate and commercial development (think shopping centers/strip malls).

    It looks like he’s attempting to build a ready made market for some of his other business ventures, and he wants to use your golf course to do it (at the expense of your property values).

    Just my two cents worth.

  9. Wow interesting as a resident of LBS yes your right we did have tons of mr parks ‘friends’ come out here in droves but we don’t see his friends out here anymore and our golf course resturant ect had not improved .

    The only good thing going on is that we have a wonderful golf pro that does his best running this place on a shoestring …

    What a shame

    I wish mr parks could see what a gem he has and would listen to the residences …

    We want to go to the clubhouse and spend our money but he had no consistancy in the food service ect.

    The Golf pros can not even give lessons???

    Isn’t that counter productive?

    All I can say is try to sell it and let us try to save our neighborhood .

    Do us all a favor

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