GERMANTOWN — A local golf course
and an area property management company could make potentially
sweeping changes to the 18-hole BlackStone Creek Golf Club in a move
that envisions bringing hundreds more rental units to Germantown
The proposal — still in its “very early stages,” the village has
said — could include adding an estimated 250 new apartments, rental
condos and townhomes while expanding a nearby village park.
BlackStone, meanwhile, would shrink to a nine-hole format and add a
new clubhouse in an effort to help market itself to golfers less
interested in long, 18-hole rounds.
“Golfers (are) opting for shorter rounds and evening leagues,”
according to a 51-page document outlining the proposal on
Germantown’s website. Besides helping the course adapt to those
changes, the development could also feature a new indoor-outdoor
“public clubhouse” that could include a beer garden, fire pits, game
areas and opportunities to host live music.
The village has said the idea is subject to change, and the report
on Germantown’s website notes some aspects of the project, including
financial details, could yield more negotiations. Still, the
village’s Committee of the Whole saw an outline of the plan this
week, and the concept fielded additional discussion Wednesday from
the Park and Recreation Commission.
The development, as currently outlined, would include building
multiple new housing structures, most near the
corner of Mequon and
Division roads. The golf course occupies roughly 180 acres at about
that location, just east of Germantown High School.
Efforts to reach administrative and development officials in
Germantown late this week weren’t successful. Neither were attempts
to contact officials at Black-Stone Creek or Fiduciary Real Estate
Development, one of the parties named in the plan and which already
manages other rental properties in the Milwaukee, Madison and Green
While an outline of the proposal notes financial details are still
preliminary, numbers included in the village document show the
project’s potential scope. The mix of newly built housing could ring
in more than $40 million in estimated value. And the village could
collect new property taxes and $1.6 million in fees while also
adding about 85 acres — at an $800,000 cost — to the nearby Haupt
The new housing could include 162 traditional apartments, 56 rental
condos and 32 townhomes. A sketched-out plan for the possibly
expanded park shows a disc golf course and new soccer fields, among
Trustee Dennis Myers on Friday said he still had questions about the
concept. He pointed, for instance, to the $800,000 cost to acquire
land to expand the park.
“What is it based off of ?” he said, noting he also wonders how
Germantown will budget the cost and when it could take steps to
authorize the plan.
He said he’d also like to see a formal draft of the proposal —
something with terms more concrete than what was presented to
village leaders this week — as well as field more information about
how the project will fit among the other capital projects Germantown
is already preparing for.
“There are more questions than answers at this time,” Myers said.
Proposed course changes not unheard of
Germantown’s website notes shrinking BlackStone could help the
course adapt to the “changing” state of golf — a sport it says has
been pinched by time and cost constraints on golfers.
Golf experts this week, though, didn’t agree about whether there’s
really been a dip in demand for 18-hole play, though one national
golf official said moves to shrink courses like BlackStone aren’t
“The vast majority of golfers still want the full experience,”
Stephen Reynolds, vice president of the golf marketing firm Buffalo
Agency, said in an email to the Daily News Friday. He said data has
actually shown a drop in interest among golfers recently in
Janeen Driscoll, the U.S. Golf Association’s communications
director, said 18-hole rounds were still the “clear preference” among
the sport’s more avid enthusiasts, though she noted shorter rounds
have remained popular with families, beginners and female golfers.
Still, Greg Nathan, chief business officer for the National Golf
Foundation, said moves to cut some 18-hole courses in half aren’t
unusual — especially in places where large numbers of courses can
strain golf supply and demand.
“In markets with plenty of course supply,” he said, “sometimes
reducing from 18 to 9 holes and investing more in the remaining 9 is
a good move for the owner.”