News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Caddyshackpocalypse Meets Groundhog Day: Now Hidden Creek Golf Course Threatened By Development, Maybe, Eventually

Hey, remember that time one of Reston's two golf courses changed hands and the new owner wanted to develop it as a zillion gazillion mixed use bollardy condos worth of awesomeness, and after failing to get a legal slam dunk giving it permission to do so carte blanche is now attempting to hand it off to a greater fool sell it touting a potential $200 million development payoff?

Yeah, that was awesome. Only while we all were paying attention to the action on the south side of the Toll Road, Reston's other white meat golf course has changed hands. Give us some alarming blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

According to an email sent by the country club to its members Tuesday, real-estate developer Wheelock Communities purchased the club earlier this week from its previous owner, Fore Golf Partners. According to the email, signed by Fore Golf CEO Charlie Staples:

Wheelock owns properties along the East Coast and in Texas that range from private golf clubs to large master-planned communities, to luxury waterfront condominiums and urban mixed-use projects. They look forward to becoming part of the highly respected Reston community. Fore Golf will continue to manage the club for the new owner, according to the email, and club memberships will be unaffected by the change in ownership.

In the email, it is announced that Wheelock plans to invest more than $300,000 in upgrades to the club. This is to include upgrades to the club’s dining and events facilities, the lobby, and the locker rooms. A new fleet of golf carts is also expected to arrive in December. More “potential changes” are listed, though:

Over the next few years, Wheelock will be working in partnership with the club members and the Reston community to explore potential changes to the property that could provide the Reston community with additional public amenities, environmental benefits and new housing choices.

Hmmm. All of a sudden that wacky error made by county officials earlier this year proposing a citylike grid of streets covering a couple of the holes of Hidden Creek seems.... interesting, doesn't it?

As we adjust our tinfoil hats, what's even more interesting is that news of this long-rumored acquisition became public the day after it was raised during public comments at the uneventful, sparsely attended public hearing on proposed density changes in parts of Reston. County officials claimed they knew nothing about it but stressed, like Reston National, Hidden Creek is designated as a golf course in the comprehensive plan and would have to go through the full rezoning process for that to change. (Which we've always argued wouldn't be that tough, given what we've seen and heard from county officials of late, but we digress.)

But it's hard to know what the plan is. Wheelock is investing $300,000 in golf-related activities right now, although that would be more than offset by selling just one sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet midscale condo on the property somewhere down the road. And given the county's willingness to chip away at the back nine in its own planning, would they accept some sort of not-so-grand bargain which maintains a nine-hole golf course (all the better for busy strapping-bombs-to-dolphins executives to squeeze in after lunch) in exchange for some sweeet revenue-generating development on the other half of the course? And if so, which adjacent homeowners will get screwed in the process?

Rescue Reston, whose members know a little something about potentially being screwed by developers, posted thoughts about the acquisition earlier today, basically crediting Wheelock for being more public about its plans than Reston National owner-for-now Northwestern Mutual and arguing that its willingness to work "in partnership with club members and the Reston community" is a good sign:

If HCCC’s owner, Wheelock, develops a plan that includes “new housing choices,” here is the process they must follow:

Property owners must follow county process for requesting a land use designation change. Any residential development plan would require a review by County Planning Commission staff, a public hearing before the County Planning Commission, a public hearing before the County Board of Supervisors, and ultimately an amendment to the County Comprehensive Plan. It will be the Board of Supervisors’ decision to approve or NOT approve a land use change.

Restonians care about the recreational space at Reston National Golf Course and continue to wait and wonder what uncaring entity will buy RNGC on speculation of future development. We cannot stop a sale, but we CAN stop a reprehensible comprehensive plan change of the land use designation. In the meantime, HCCC has been purchased by an entity that, at this point, is planning to work "in partnership with the club members and the Reston community.”

It is the civic duty of ALL Restonians to monitor land use sales and ownership activity of our Designated Open Space areas. We hope that HCCC’s new ownership will maintain open discussion with the Reston community.

For now, all we can do is hope, and wait for the next rodent-related development:


  1. "Hmmm. All of a sudden that wacky error made by county officials earlier this year proposing a citylike grid of streets covering a couple of the holes of Hidden Creek seems.... interesting, doesn't it?"

    EXACTLY my same point on Reston Now. Seems totally fishy!!

  2. While we all have our tinfoil hats on, has anyone scanned the new Kennedy archives for relevant information? Rumor has it one recently declassified document says that Lee Harvey Oswald's final word after being shot was "woonerf."

  3. I know it won't be a popular position, but given the relatively small number of properties affected by removing portions of the golf course south of North Shore (North Shore Court, Golf View Court), I think that converting that area into new development, additional Reston Association parks, and roads would not be a bad compromise that has more benefits than negatives for Reston residents.


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