Park Hill Golf Club extends its lease for five years, disrupting plan to develop land

The nonprofit owner of the course has been talking for months about selling the land.

Homes sit behind a screen protecting them from stray balls hit at the Park Hill Golf Course. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Homes sit behind a screen protecting them from stray balls hit at the Park Hill Golf Course. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) park hill; golf course; denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado; sports;

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The chances of a major redevelopment on the site of Park Hill Golf Club got slimmer this week.

The nonprofit owner of the course has been talking for months about selling the land, allowing to be redeveloped as housing, commercial space and parkland.

Denver officials wanted to buy the land for $20.5 million from the owner, Clayton Early Learning. But the operator of the golf course, Arcis Golf, has blown up that plan.

This week, Arcis said that it would extend its lease on the land for five years, according to the landowner. The lease was set to the expire at the end of this year, but Arcis has taken the option to extend it until 2023.

“The golf course land continues to be an asset of the Clayton Trust and its revenue helps support Clayton Early Learning’s mission to improve early care and education during the critical first five years, especially for children living in communities of limited opportunity. Arcis’ decision does not change our mission and we will continue our work educating Denver’s children,” read a written statement provided by Clayton’s public relations firm.

With the lease extended, Clayton will have a much tougher time selling the land. In fact, the trouble with Arcis already led the city to cancel its plan to purchase the land last year.

Meanwhile, Arcis is suing in an attempt to gain control of the land. It argues that its contract gives it the “right of first refusal” to buy the 155-acre course — which, of course, is an enormously valuable piece of land in northeast Denver.

“It is definitely our intention to continue with the lawsuit in our effort to ultimately own the land. In the interim, we will continue to operate the course,” wrote Scott Siddons, general counsel for Arcis, in an email to Denverite.

Despite all the extended lease, the course is still set to close temporarily. The city plans to build flood control infrastructure on the course from Jan. 2019 to Sept. 2020.