The St. Paul City and Club Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject St. Thomas University’s proposal to purchase its golf course.
The board issued the following statement in response:
“Over the past week, the Town & Country Club Board of Directors has carefully considered the University of St. Thomas proposal, explored issues related to the proposed transaction and, most importantly, listened to the comments from our members. After completing this work, the board voted unanimously to reject the university’s proposal and inform them that we have no interest in continuing our engagement on this topic. The Town & Country Club is not for sale.
The University of St. Thomas had hoped to use the space for hockey.
The university made an unsolicited $61.4 million offer to buy the 96-acre golf course, but not the clubhouse and pool. St. Thomas is interested in the property because it is less than a mile from campus and would allow for an upgrade and expansion of athletic facilities.
“Right now our focus is hockey, baseball and softball and these three facilities are considered to be the first of these facilities that we would need to build,” said the director of athletics at the University of St. Thomas, Phil Esten, at 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. There would also be room for other facilities, but these three are the immediate priority. Football and basketball will remain in their current locations on campus for the time being, but the university must also take a long-term view.
“Town and Country, of course, is extremely close to campus,” Esten said. “It would not only allow us to build the immediate athletic facilities that we feel we need, but also allow St. Thomas to look ahead to the next 100 years and really think about where the university might evolve in the next century. .
The club’s board sent an email to its more than 500 members saying, in part, “to be clear, no club property has been offered for sale, and this offer was entirely unsolicited”. The email goes on to say that they have “significant unanswered questions” and that there is a “duty to fully consider these questions…”
Town and Country isn’t the only plot of land being considered by St. Thomas. They are also considering land adjacent to the Highland Bridge development on the former Ford factory site on Ford Parkway about two miles from campus directly on Cretin Avenue.
“At the end of the day, we prefer to stay in the city of St. Paul,” says Esten. “We prefer to stay as close to campus as possible.
The university would still like to see new facilities for hockey, baseball and softball built over the next two years.