Could Golf Courses Become the Next Redevelopment Frontier?

In Portland, Oregon an unlikely partnership of environmental and business interests is supporting a plan to rezone an 84-year-old golf course to allow industrial development, bringing a new slant to the term 'greenfield development'.

Portland's Colwood National Golf Club, which is located adjacent to Portland International Airport, may soon see its last foursome, reports Dana Tims. After an effort to rezone the land to allow for industrial development was rejected five years ago, a new proposed zoning change will be considered by the city. "Brokered by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, the arrangement could for the first time allow conversion of golf courses to industrial uses while preserving portions for public open spaces and parks."

"In this instance, at least, environmental groups and business interests are working together to address their seemingly opposing needs," says Tims. "Environmentalists are buoyed by the prospect of gaining significant amounts of new parkland, while business leaders applaud what they say is a badly needed addition to the region's inventory of buildable industrial land."

"While the five courses the city owns do not appear to be in play, other privately held courses are watching the process closely to see if they might follow the same trail [course owner Bill Saunders Jr.] is blazing by off-loading properties that are expensive to operate and maintain."

"All over the country, you're seeing courses going belly-up financially," said Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. "We are way overbuilt on the number of courses, while those playing golf are declining."

Full Story: Portland golf courses face crossroads as declining numbers bring other potential uses for land into play


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