Beau Pré Country Club facing foreclosurePublished 12:06am Tuesday, July 31, 2012
NATCHEZ — The board of directors for the Beau Pré Country Club is looking for investors to buy its $1.15 million mortgage in an effort to save the country club from foreclosure.occasions
In a letter sent out last week, Board of Directors’ President Chuck Fields said the club is approaching Beau Pré homeowners, club members and others to buy equity shares in the club at a cost of $10,000 a share. One share would be worth approximately 0.5291 percent of the property.
“Investors would own an equity interest in the property and assets itself, which would no loner be subject to a bank mortgage, and small though that ownership interest might be, if the club turns around — and there are good things happening on the economic front in the area — if we can hang on in a few years, that will translate into additional membership and better financial circumstances for the club,” Fields said Monday.
The fundraising effort began in June, and followed the April maturation of a loan on the club.
“Part of the (loan) renewal process was to get a new appraisal, and the appraised value was significantly lower than the appraised value the last time it was appraised, and (the value) was lower than (the cost of) our bank loan,” Fields said.
The loan balance was $1,566,087, while the property’s appraised value was $1,150,000. In order to get the loan renewed, the club would have to pay down the difference, but since the board has started its fundraising efforts, the banks have agreed to use the appraised value of the property as the purchase price for the mortgage.
Fields said the fundraising efforts have, to-date, raised more than $560,000, and the board is redoubling its efforts to meet with members and homeowners.
“The way we felt, our first obligation was to go to the members and shareholders knowing full well that we would probably not be able to raise the full amount of money there,” Fields said.
“After we had made our first effort through the members and homeowners, we are going outside the membership and homeowners to anybody who might help.”
The club has until Sept. 4 to raise the funds needed to buy the debt. If those efforts are unsuccessful, the foreclosure process will begin, something Fields said the club does not want to happen, even though it could buy the property back through the foreclosure process.
“If it goes to foreclosure, we lose control, and it is totally in the hands of the foreclosure process,” he said.
In Fields’ letter, he stated that the City of Natchez has expressed interest in buying Beau Pré as part of a wider recreation plan if the club goes into foreclosure.
Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Monday city officials are interested in the future of the club but have not had any in-depth discussions about the matter.
“We are not anxious to do anything in any way to complicate or hasten any kind of financial discussions and decisions between the banks, the club and the club membership,” Brown said.
“We are not actively trying to borrow money or checking titles or doing any of the things you need to line up before buying property.
“We hope that the club can keep (the property) and keep it open, because it’s an attraction to the city, and it is said to be one of the best golf courses in the state of Mississippi. We want to see all of our entities, be they private, public or recreational, stay open.”
Beau Pré has a continued role to play in the area, Fields said.
“I know one guy who moved to Natchez a number of years ago, he came here to interview with a company and was probably not going to take the job until the guy took him to Beau Pré to play golf, and that is what made him decide to move to Natchez. The facility we have out there is not the typical facility you find in a market this size, it is far superior to what you find in a market this size.”
Anyone interested in buying a share in Beau Pré should contact any board member, Fields said.