By Reggie Connell, Managing Editor
At the January 31st Apopka Mayoral debate, Mayor Bryan Nelson was asked about the progress made on the defunct golf courses at Errol Estate and Rock Springs Ridge, and what the City’s role should be. Nelson spoke of a plan for both that he hopes can still be successful.
“When I first got elected, Errol and Rock Springs Ridge were both struggling, and so I’m just trying to make an opportunity there for the homeowners to get the property back, get the golf course back, and have enough development around it to make that work for the communities,” Nelson said. “For Errol Estate, I had a deal… had the sellers taken the deal, we could have gotten 200 homes not impacting the backyards of people and yet had a golf course. We did a lot of work and a lot of folks were helping me design this plan… looking at the financials, the spreadsheets. We had a plan that would have worked for Errol and we had a plan to work for Rock Springs Ridge. So we hope to get it back. We hope we can get the Golf Group to come back and negotiate with us on the property in Rock Springs Ridge, and we hope the Klein family will come to their senses and make a deal that we can have that golf course back with a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and something that they’d be proud of.”
But 5th Hole Investments, owners of the Errol Estate Golf Course property, and members of the Klein family, reached out to The Apopka Voice and requested to make a statement, pushing back on Nelson’s assertions.
5th Hole Investments wrote:
“The New Errol Project approved in 2018 was not financially feasible. It has since been terminated and has expired.
The Errol Estate Country Club facilities were demolished in 2021.
It is important to note that there are no legal requirements, by deed or covenant, that restrict the property to a golf course for perpetuity.
In the recent Mayoral debate, it was mentioned that there is a plan proposed that would redevelop our property back into an 18-hole golf course, made possible by a tax imposed on Errol homeowners. The City of Apopka is endorsing this plan on its website. It involves the creation of a Recreational Taxing District.
The Recreation District Advisory Committee’s development plan included at least 70-85 undevelopable lots. This is an engineering blunder, due to the floodplain and proximity near the lake. (See: July 7, 2020, agenda packet, “parcel 1”). They had promised an implied value to these undevelopable lots “given back” to us for a solicitation of a price.
Regardless, we do not believe that the Errol residents are interested in being forced, by taxation, to subsidize a golf course operational deficit that had approximate losses of $50,000-60,000/month. Nor do we believe the residents want to be taxed to fund the necessary capital for the redevelopment cost of a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, 18 holes of golf, plus any accessories.
The residents have no obligation to purchase this property. And since the residents never created or presented an entity capable of negotiating a purchase of our property, they have affirmed their disinterest. This is understandable to us. Yet the City continues to insist, evident by their recent comments, that a taxing district is the only path forward.
Since August 2021, the property has been listed for sale and it is still available.
The City has publicly stated that they do not want to purchase the property.
If the City wants to resolve the problem of this property not being put to use, then it should actively support more realistic ideas and not failed ones.”
5th Hole Investments LLC is an eight member LLC, within which the Klein Estate is one member. 5th Hole Investments is the legal entity which owns the Errol Club property.
On the listing, the summary of the Errol Estate golf course land states:
Located just west of Wekiva Springs State Park, and just north of US 441 in the city of Apopka, the property consists of roughly 370 acres total, with approximately 170 acres of usable land.
As a former golf course, the property presents a unique development opportunity in the rapidly growing market of Apopka and west Orange County. With its close proximity to major road networks, including US 441 and the 429 Expressway, the property is well suited for developers and users seeking the next location for a residential community of various product types.
There is no asking price in the listing.