Springs-based Escalante Golf adds to boutique portfolio

Filed under: Daily News,Real Estate | Tags:,
Pine Creek Golf Club is one of several “boutique” golf clubs in Escalante Golf’s portfolio.

Pine Creek Golf Club is one of several “boutique” golf clubs in Escalante Golf’s portfolio.

Some real estate transactions defy otherwise cloudy economic forecasts.

Take golf courses for example. This week, Escalante Golf, the general partner and ownership group for the Pine Creek Golf Club and other “boutique” golf clubs throughout the country, announced that it has acquired the Country Club of the North in Dayton, Ohio, from Oak Tree Capital LLC for $4.6 million.

Like Colorado Springs, which is home to four military installations, Dayton is near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base which, like Fort Carson, benefited from base realignment and closure growth.

The new owners also will finish a million-dollar housing development around the course. The estimated total development of the remaining sites is between $60 million and $70 million.

Escalante President David McDonald said that the purchase represented the company’s first acquisition in Ohio. The firm, founded during 1991, also owns several other properties and bought the Raven Golf Club in Silverthorne from Oak Tree Capital during 2008 for $4 million.

In the Pikes Peak region, the firm has been an ongoing supporter of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ golf management degree program — allowing students access to a local learning laboratory and free course play. The partnership was established during 1991 when university officials began working with Bobby and Elcio Silva of Escalante Golf to collaborate with Pine Creek Golf Club.

“They’ve partnered with us from the beginning,” said Ed Kelbel, director of the PGA Golf Management Program. “Our relationship has been just great, and it provides a great place for our kids to learn about the game of golf.”

Mall construction slows

Reed Construction Co. economist Jim Haughey recently took time to look at updated trends in the retail construction field.

He found that construction spending for shopping centers and shopping malls this year was down more than 40 percent from a year ago, about a 10 percent deeper decline than for other retail facilities.

New projects also saw a “relatively deeper decline for shopping centers and malls than for other retailing,” he said.

Haughey expected little additional decline for retail construction during the current building recession, but shopping centers and malls will lag stand-alone retail facilities in the recovery. His reasoning: the types of stores that operate principally from shopping centers, and especially shopping malls, are suffering larger sales declines than other retailers.

While retail spending increased 2.7 percent during August, the figure was closer to 0.6 percent, excluding auto dealers and gas stations. Still, he said, the 0.6 percent is “a sizable gain” for retail stores.

“It probably signals the beginning of a slow but progressive recovery in consumer spending that will lead to a recovery in retail construction early next year,” Haughey said. “Expect the recovery to lag at least several months for shopping centers and shopping malls.”

Citadel makes some progress

In related news, Scott Gray of Cornerstone Commercial Real Estate said a few tenants have leased temporary space for the holiday season at The Citadel mall.

“We have some letters of intent for spaces in the mall,” he said, “but they probably will not get open in time for Christmas.”

Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.