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Denver suspends proposed plan to buy Park Hill Golf Course over leasing dispute

Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 21:27:01-05

DENVER -- The future of the Park Hill golf course is back up in the air after the city of Denver suspended its proposed plan to purchase the 155-acres of land from Clayton Early Learning.

"For now, we've suspended those conservations between us and the city," Charlotte Brantley, president of Clayton Early Learning said.

Brantley explained a leasing issue with the current tenant has forced them to hit the pause button on the agreement.

Arcis Golf, a company based out of Dallas, Texas, currently leases the land and runs the course. Brantley said they had an informal understanding that Arcis was not going to renew its lease next year, but recently the company asked for more time to decide.

"Very, very recently here they have let us that they are not quite ready to make that decision in a formal way," Brantley said.

Under the current lease agreement, Arcis has until July 2018 to inform Clayton whether or not it plans to re-up the lease for the following year.

"It's never fun to sit and wait, right but at the same time it's a process and it needs to play it's self out," Brantley said.

The city of Denver and Clayton had reached a tentative deal, pending council approval, where the city would purchase the land for $20.5 million but exactly what it would become was still being decided.

"Unfortunately, we are now setting that proposal aside because of an unresolved lease issue between Clayton and its golf course operator, Arcis," Nancy Kuhn, a public works spokeswoman said in a statement. "Denver will now move forward with an alternative approach in order to obtain the land it needs to construct the storm water detention project it has planned for the northeast corner of the Park Hill Golf Course property."

"We're concerned, obviously, about being able to achieve our overall goal here of being able to get additional income from what we currently get on that property," explained Brantley.

Brantley said Clayton uses the money generated from the land to fund early education programs for low-income kids, and the deal with Denver would have brought in more money for the children they serve through a trust.

"We are looking at that asset as something we need to leverage," she said.

Denver said it will bring to a Council committee in December the land acquisition ordinance for about 90 acres of the land to be used for storm water detention.

It would not say how much it plans to purchase the land from Clayton, but Kuhn said an appraisal will be done to determine the value.