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UMSL to sell Normandie Golf Club for $1.5 million, nonprofit seeking pledges to help cover purchase

UMSL to sell Normandie Golf Club for $1.5 million, nonprofit seeking pledges to help cover purchase

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Public course draws players at Normandie Golf Club

Virgil Shivers of Florissant tees off at Normandie Golf Club in Bel-Nor, under the gaze of Erwin Claggett on Friday, March 21, 2014. Built in 1901, Normandie is the oldest public golf course west of the Mississippi River. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

BEL-NOR — The University of Missouri-St. Louis is selling Normandie Golf Club for $1.5 million, and the nonprofit Beyond Housing is seeking pledges to help buy the property, the group’s CEO announced during a virtual town hall Wednesday.

The 117-acre public golf course on St. Charles Rock Road, built in 1901, claims to be the oldest public course west of the Mississippi River.

“If the folks of Bel-Nor and Greendale didn’t care about the course, we may not be as interested in trying to step up and be in this space, but we know how important this is to the residents,” Beyond Housing CEO and President Chris Krehmeyer said Wednesday.

Beyond Housing, which is now leasing the property, has so far received about $300,000 in pledges, Krehmeyer said, adding that the group has until the end of the month to notify UMSL if they will have enough money to purchase the property at the end of the year.

The Post-Dispatch reported in 2015 that UMSL purchased the Normandie Golf Club for $1.4 million and leased it to Walter Golf Management for $1 per year under a 10-year contract.

The golf course initially announced it was closing indefinitely in January after Walter Golf Management opted out of the contract, then reopened in April under a joint contract between Beyond Housing and the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association. No explanation was given for why the management company opted out of the contract.

In 2018, a group called NormandieFore!, which includes Beyond Housing, Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association and Bel-Nor and Greendale residents, announced a plan to renovate the golf club for $20 million. But on Wednesday, when a participant in the town hall asked about fundraising efforts for “much-needed improvement” on the course, Krehmeyer said the dollar figure for renovation had shrunk to between $500,000 and $1 million.

Also during the town hall Wednesday, Kenneth Nuernberger, of ND Consulting Group, presented a plan for an $11 million, 53-unit senior mixed-income housing project across from the golf course along Normandy Avenue, at the site of the former Incarnate Word convent.

Rents for the new units will range from $550 to $750, and residents must be at least 62 years old. Construction is slated to begin next year and completed one year after that, but both Nuernberger and Bel-Nor Mayor William Hook acknowledged those dates were tentative.

The town hall, held via Zoom, came to an abrupt halt about halfway through the meeting when, as Nuernberger attempted to share his screen for a PowerPoint presentation, pornography appeared on the screen. The meeting went dark temporarily, then resumed with a discussion about the housing project.

Hook told the Post-Dispatch the incident was attributable to a random hacker on Zoom, and after the meeting thanked everyone for remaining patient through the “interruption.”

Incarnate Word covenant, also owned by UMSL, has been vacant for years. The school in 2015 reversed its decision to demolish the property.

“That’s been a concern of ours,” said the mayor. “It has deteriorated inside to some extent, so we will be very happy to get it rehabilitated and put back on the tax rolls.”

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