NISKAYUNA — The Mohawk Golf Club is trying to sell part of its land for residential development, as part of a strategy to succeed in a competitive and changing industry.
The idea is still in its early stages, not even a formal proposal, but the club has listed two parcels for sale: 11 acres closer to Ruffner Road for $899,000, and 12 acres closer to Balltown Road for $949,000.
They could be the site of 40 to 80 town houses selling in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, club Vice President Jeff Frankel said. He stressed that the number, price and style of housing units is a fluid target that is subject to change as the town reviews the plans.
It would be two or even three years at the earliest before the first resident moves in, he added.
Town Planner Laura Robertson said no formal — or even informal — proposal has been submitted, so it’s hard to comment on it. But at least two issues face any town house project there, she said: Traffic and zoning.
The site is zoned R-1, a low-density designation that does not allow tightly configured town houses. And while the main roads passing the Mohawk Golf Club are county and state roads, not town streets, the town is very aware of traffic congestion in the area where Union Street, Balltown Road and Route 7 come together.
Frankel said the club will go forward in cooperation with the town to align the project with the goals and objectives of the town.
“We expect to partner with the town,” he said. “It will be a collaborative effort that will benefit everyone, if done correctly.”
If town houses are not allowed, a different kind of housing could be built, Frankel said. Traffic congestion, he allowed, would be harder to fix. It’s too early to say how the traffic patterns of a new residential project would be configured or whether increased congestion would result, he said.
The Mohawk Golf Club is looking to sell the land outright or partner with a developer, he said. The club is not interested in doing the construction and marketing itself.
The hope is that at least some of the new residents would join the club, though it has not been decided whether there would be incentives for them to do so.
Building membership is a key motive for the proposal, Frankel said.
The Mohawk Golf Club — incorporated in 1898 and occupying its current site since 1903 — saw membership shrink during the Great Recession a decade ago. The ranks have since rebounded somewhat but have stabilized at 320, as other country clubs and public golf courses undertake upgrades to capture members and/or their dollars.
“As we look at the short- and long-term landscape of the club, we need to be creative,” Frankel said. “We have to be two or three steps ahead of our competition in how we present our brand.”
Municipal golf courses have invested in upgrades that make them more attractive, he said, but they can be crowded enough that a round of golf takes five or six hours. Mohawk Golf Club’s target audience is golfers who want the camaraderie and family atmosphere of a private club.
Other clubs are investing in their own upgrades to go after the same audience, though: Frankel noted recent efforts by Eagle Crest and Van Patten in Clifton Park.
Others have undertaken housing projects, as well. Frankel cited town houses recently constructed at Colonie Country Club near Voorheesville and 206 housing units the Edison Club hopes to build on its Rexford property, another plan still in its early stages.
What exactly takes shape at the Mohawk Golf Club remains to be seen, he said. The concept for 40 to 80 town houses is just that, at this point.
“There are no guarantees; we know that. A project like this has to start somewhere.”