In 2001, the Johnny Miller-designed Golf Club of Virginia was opened to much fanfare in a heating-up Northern Virginia market. The incredibly beautiful venue was expected to be the crowned jewel of Virginia, and the centerpiece for the estate homes being built high above the fairways at the Beacon Hill development.
By 2006, the golf course was closed due to financial difficulties, and the ensuing real estate market collapse ended any real hope of rejuvenating the course at that time. The prices for many of the gorgeous estate homes plummeted.
However, this is prime property, and the course layout is spectacular. It had to come to pass that eventually there would be a viable plan to redevelop the golf course, which would reinvigorate the incredible estate homes in the community. That time may be upon us.
The Beacon Hill Homeowner’s Association acquired the Golf Club of Virginia at Beacon Hill two years ago, and may be in the final stages of reaching an agreement with private investors to re-open and reinvigorate the dream of a world class golf facility at Beacon Hill. The rough sketches of the plan include leasing golf parcels, making required major renovations, and reopening the golf course as a private club.
The proposed new name for this facility is “Belle Terre Golf at Beacon Hill”. Not only is it planned to renovate the golf course, but the clubhouse facility plans to have a fitness center, tennis and swimming as well. This is a different concept from the Johnny Miller-designed facility in 2001, which consisted merely of a gorgeous but excruciatingly difficult golf course and a temporary pro shop.
The long, scenic Seventh hole, dogwood left, of the old Johnny Miller layout.
Details of the plan are still a bit sketchy, but this much we know. The HOA bought the 330-acre golf course for $1 and also paid off the back property taxes of $25,000. The new golf course is being charted, but my knowledge of the layout and property leads me to believe that any ultimate golf course design should be spectacular.
Beacon Hill has suffered from the reputation as a failed golf course community. I have made the point frequently that this is an overstated objection to people looking at these homes, given that the quality of housing, beauty of the land, and overall ambiance in this estate community justifies current pricing and then some, regardless of whether or not the golf course exists. However, returning a viable world class golf course would likely cause a surge in home values long overdue at Beacon Hill.
The new clubhouse is said to be a renovation of the 12,000 square foot home on Hidden Hills Road, constructed almost 30 years ago for its former owner, a Saudi prince. The current owner aid $750,000 for the property in 1996.
The plan is heavily dependent on current home owners “buying in” to membership in the new club at $15,000 per year. The theory here is that the community needs to support the club to provide the vitality needed. There will also be a need to re-zone much of the land from agricultural use to golf course use.
The ownership and purported ownership of the Beacon Hill golf course has had a checkered history, which may be the biggest obstacle of all in gaining community confidence going forward. The current plan is being headed by Jeffrey Milton, CEO of resort developer BTS Development Corporation, and local partner John Steele. If the plan is implemented and the golf facility resuscitated to anything close to the original dream, values in Beacon Hill should surge forward.
This plan is ambitious, and certainly without its risks. At some point, however, faith in the magnificence of this property will prevail. Let’s hope that time is now.
Ray Wedell, Realtor
Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA