Homer Glen buys Woodbine Golf Course
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com January 9, 2014 8:08PM
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:18AM
After 25 years, the Woodbine Golf Course has a new owner: the village of Homer Glen.
The 103-acre property, 14240 W. 151st St., and its 21,000-square-foot banquet hall was sold for $3.3 million, after the village board unanimously voted for the purchase at a special meeting Dec. 23 and closed on the deal Dec. 30.
Golfing and banquets will continue through this year, honoring commitments to those who have booked events, said Jim Ludwig, who owns the public course with his wife and plans to retire.
“Everyone is real excited about it. It’s a big plus for the community,” Mayor Jim Daley said. “The opportunities are endless.”
The village does not plan to keep the 18-hole golf course and instead will create a community park and remodel the banquet hall for use as the village hall, with space dedicated for a senior citizens center, Daley said.
Homer Glen, which was incorporated in April 2001, rents 9,000 square feet in a retail strip center, 14933 Founders Crossing, for its village hall for $197,361 per year and pays an additional $23,975 for storage space for its Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.
The village has been interested in the property for several years, and the Ludwigs’ offer was good until Dec. 31, Daley said, adding that discussions over the land were kept private, as allowed by state law.
He said the property was purchased without a mortgage, with the money coming from the village’s land acquisition, capital improvement and bond funds.
“It was time to make this investment, and we had the money,” the mayor said.
Homer Glen is getting the land for about half the price it would’ve paid in 2009 when the village board considered purchasing Woodbine or the Dunne farm along 159th Street for $6 million but “decided not to move forward,” Daley said.
Since that time, the golf business has slumped, and the Ludwigs filed for bankruptcy in April 2013. Their company, WGC Real Estate LLC, owed First Midwest Bank $6.6 million on the property, and foreclosure was pending in Will County Circuit Court, according to court records.
“How many opportunities will you get like this in a lifetime?” the mayor said. “That’s why there was no resistance from trustees. The price is exceptional and the location is exceptional.”
He said the land will become the first major park in the village and the “home of Homer Glen,” the central location for community events. The property is adjacent to the Homer Township Public Library, Homer Township offices and sports fields.
Ludwig said the land is the geographic center of Homer Township and was one of three dairy farms owned by his grandfather, who bought the property, which then extended to 151st Street and Crème Road, back in the 1920s or 1930s.
“We have a little history in this town,” Ludwig said, adding that his grandfather was born in 1866 at what now is 143rd Street and Bell Road.
The Ludwig family opened Woodbine Golf Course in June 1988. The banquet hall was added in 2005.
“It will have a good use. We desperately need more facilities for kids and people to enjoy outside activities,” Ludwig said. “I would rather see it go to the village to preserve the land.”
Daley said the village will use this year to plan and hire an engineer to design the community park, with input from the public. He would like to expand the nearby sports facilities and develop the site for both active and passive recreation.
The land acquisition also means that Homer Glen will form a parks department maintain the property and plan events, the mayor said.