A possible deal for the purchase of Beacon Ridge Country Club has fallen through. Club owners Don & Rhonda Billings are considering their options, while planning to continue to operate the Club in the meantime.
The Club was listed with broker Hilda W. Allen as an auction sale initially scheduled to be concluded on February 4.
But, when a potential buyer approached the broker with an offer outside the auction, the date was pushed back to February 16. A letter of intent was signed, with a formal contract pending
In a February 22 letter to the Club membership, Billings said the buyer "suffered a sudden and devastating loss of a close family member."
Allen recommended cancelling the auction, and Billings agreed. The realtor and auction company then announced that the auction was cancelled because the property was under contract.
"I understand that a couple of days after the death of the potential buyers' family member," Billings wrote, "he talked with a representative of the real estate company and said he would get back later regarding the purchase. So far, he has not."
"I therefore assume that he is no longer a potential buyer," he added.
Ending the letter on an upbeat note, Billings writes, "the resodding of the greens has greatly improved the condition of the course, and BRICO [the Billings' company] will continue to operate the Club and provide to its members and customers all the benefits of a full service country club."
Billings and his wife Rhonda came out of retirement to run the club in 2013, after terminating a lease with Wingfield Properties, which had operated it for sixteen years.
Since then, the Billing's company, Beacon Ridge Investment Group, has made substantial upgrades, including remodeling portions of the clubhouse; adding a fitness center; reopening the pool; which had been closed by the county Health Department; and bringing on longtime Foxfire Golf manager Howard Cannon to manage day-to-day operations.
The improvements helped reverse a decline in membership. Billings told The Times that the club currently has just under 200 memberships, with the majority of those including couples or families.
"We just felt like we had made an investment in having substantially rehabbed the club, and it holding its own for a couple of years," he said, "but realized that we didn't want to continue with the task of rebuilding it up."
"Given our ages," he said, "it is time for us to retire again." Billings is 81.