TERMS OF THE SALE DISCLOSEDD
Five million dollars was what the Todd family had been asking for the Etowah Valley Golf Course and Country Club. But the final price paid was considerably less...between three and five million dollars.
After the sale of the essentially bankrupt Etowah Valley was finalized and officially announced last week, Kevin Griffin told WHKP News that his company, Hi-Alta, an Asheville-based real estate investment firm, had been in negotiations with the Todd family for about a year and a half to purchase the 240 acre property.
Etowah Valley had fallen on hard times, due largely to the economic recession that began in 2006 and 2007 and that continues to the present time and Griffin said the financial situation at Etowah Valley worsened last fall. In negotiation with Etowah Valley's owners and bankers, Griffin said a "short" sale of the property was the result...that led to the final deal made public last week.
Griffin also told WHKP News the goal of Hi-Alta is to move away from the "country club" image at Etowah Valley...so they will now be operating under the new name and identity of Etowah Valley Golf Club and Lounge.
THIS CLOSES A WHOLE CHAPTER IN HENDERSON COUNTY'S HISTORY
The Etowah Valley property had been in the family of the late Frank Todd, Sr., a former Hendersonville mayor and head of the Moland-Drysdale (brick) Corporation. for three generations. Frank Todd, Jr. told WHKP News last week it is with mixed emotions that the Todd family parts company with the property.
Todd pointed out the property was originally purchased by his granfdather...and the red clay soil on it was used for many years to make what became known as famous "Etowah brick". "Etowah brick" was used in the construction of countless homes and businesses, schools, churchs, office buildings and other institutions in Henderson County and throughout the southeastern United States for many years. The brick facility was later re-located to what's now known as the Brickton community, just south of Fletcher along U.S. Highway 25...due largely to the accessibility of the railroad line used for shipping and transporting the bricks.
After the move to Brickton, the Todd family retained ownership of the Etowah property...and it was the dream and goal of the late Frank Todd, Sr. to "re-claim" the land formerly used in Etowah for the dirt and the bricks...and to transform it into a world class golf course and country club. That was done in 1967, and Etowah Valley operated successfully as an up-scale golf course, club, dining establishment, and meeting facility for some 40 years, with residential communities popping up nearby and on all sides, ...until the most recent and severe economic recession sat in around the middle of the last decade. Frank Todd, Jr. had been telling WHKP News for some time about the implausible situation Etowah Valley found itself in during the recession, the property was placed on the market for sale, several efforts had been made to sell it, and the sale to Hi-Alta was finally disclosed last week.
Golfing communities in general, and the Etowah community in particular, suffered mightIly during that recent economic recession, as evidenced by the bankruptsy and collapse of the now defunct multi-million dollar Seven Falls development and Arnold Palmer-designed golf course just down the road from Etowah Valley.
As implausdible and sad as the financial situation at Etowah Valley became, particularly for the Todd family, it's impossible to describe or to put a "dollar" value on the huge contribution made to Henderson County, to western North Carolina, and to development and construction in the entire southeast for so many years in the middle of the last century by the Moland-Drysdale Corporation and world famous "Etowah brick". And it's equally impossible to describe the enormous contribution made to the community for the last 40 years by Etowah Valley Golf couse and Country Club. But most of all, we, as a community and a region, will never be able to adequately acknowledge the unending generosity, the vision and creativity, and the unequaled spirit of "community service" of the whole Todd family and of their kin-folks and partners, the Molands, the Grimes, and the Drysdales.
As sad as we are to see this chapter in our local history closed, we're thankful the Todd family has at last found some relief from the awful strains of the economic recession...and we wish them all the best going forward
.By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
March 31, 2013 6pm