North of 96th - Lindsey

Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

Bankruptcy / Fishers / Golf / Hamilton County / Regional News

Hawthorns golf club headed to auction; lender seeks control

October 24, 2014

The future of the Hawthorns Golf & Country Club in Fishers is expected to become clearer next week, when a bankruptcy court judge weighs in on the lender’s plan to take over operations.

As IBJ reported in June, an affiliate of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Concert Golf Partners is seeking control of the course, which landed in bankruptcy court this year after HGCC Lender LLC filed a $4.8 million lawsuit seeking to foreclose on the property.

Concert Golf Partners, which owns seven private golf clubs around the country, submitted a reorganization plan that calls for eliminating debt, investing $1.3 million in “priority” capital projects within two years and funding a reserve account monthly.

The current owner, Hamilton Proper Golf Partnership LP, filed its own plan that would allow the affiliate of HDG Mansur CEO Harold Garrison to retain control, but attorneys withdrew the proposal on Oct 12—just after Garrison filed personal bankruptcy.

In a letter to golf club members, Garrison said that action “does not relate to any of the proceedings involving the Hawthorns” and pledged to continue working “for the best future of the club.”

At the time, club members were voting on the competing reorganization plans. Concert Golf CEO Peter Nanula said early results were “very lopsided” in favor of his firm’s proposal.

“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of support from Hawthorns members,” he said. “They want a solid future for their club.”

The Official Committee of Unsecured Club Members, which is representing members in the Hawthorns bankruptcy case, voted 6-1-1 in favor or the lender’s plan and urged others to do the same.

Concert Golf’s plan “provides a stable financial foundation moving forward,” the committee wrote in a letter to members. “The Debtor plan does not.”

The Hawthorns owner’s attorney did not return a phone call from IBJ, but Garrison said in his letter to members that the voting process was confusing and divisive. So the partnership plans to bid on the 279-acre property at auction, he wrote.

The bankruptcy court judge is expected to rule on the lender’s proposal on Oct. 29. If the plan is confirmed, the club will be sold to the highest bidder Oct. 30. Offers are due Oct. 27.

Nanula expects the sale price to exceed $7 million. Court filings show the Hawthorns’ real estate, improvements and equipment was appraised for $6.4 million in July. The golf course is located in the Hamilton Proper residential development.

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