The prospective new owner for Alvamar’s two Lawrence golf courses is identified, the price set, the timing arranged.
Now all that’s left is to sink the putt, sign the scorecard and hit the clubhouse on a “very acceptable” deal for properties that listed for sale two months ago for $6.5 million.
All by the end of this year.
“We have, in fact, signed a letter of intent, and we are in the second draft of negotiations on a sale contract,” said Bob Johnson, chairman of Alvamar Inc. “It ain’t done till it’s done, but it’s moving very rapidly and there is every reason to believe that it will happen.”
Alvamar’s 120 shareholders have been looking for a buyer to purchase the two 18-hole courses in the heart of western Lawrence, and they’ve found one Johnson describes as a private corporation that is “extremely experienced” in the ownership and management of such courses.
The out-of-state entity either owns or manages more than 120 courses nationwide, he said, and likes the idea of acquiring a public course and a private course that together are located close to the Kansas City metro area, maintain close ties with Kansas University and whose country club boasts at least 1,000 golf and social members.
“It’s all very positive,” Johnson said.
Alvamar leaders say they’re working to sell their corporation’s recreational assets as part of a plan for shareholders — many of them owners for more than a quarter century — to liquidate their assets. Many owners are reaching or have reached retirement age.
Johnson declined to discuss the purchase price, which is included in the signed letter of intent and is not the subject of remaining discussions between buyer and seller.
“The negotiations have been very, very acceptable to the board,” Johnson said, before acknowledging: “It’s seldom anybody pays more than the asking price, for anything.”
The sale would not include Alvamar’s nonrecreational assets: 17 parcels of land, including 165 acres of residential and commercial property at the western side of Lawrence.
Johnson and other board members assumed control of Alvamar Inc. several years ago, following the death of Alvamar founder Bob Billings and litigation that pitted the current board against previous management.
Now, with a sale Johnson figures to have a 95 percent chance of closing, Alvamar members should be able to look forward to a future of strong management and continued golfing and social excellence.
All under new ownership.
“We are making a transaction here that will be very positive for the shareholders, the Alvamar membership and the public in their enjoyment of these facilities,” Johnson said. “I think that there will be no outward appearance of any change whatsoever. … These are golf course people. They’re buying it for the golf courses.”