, Newburyport, MA

February 18, 2013

Tee time for Rowley Country Club

New owners of Rowley Country Club looking toward April 1 opening

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall

---- — ROWLEY — The sale of Carriage Pines Golf Club has been finalized and the new owners/developers are preparing for an anticipated April 1 opening of the nine-hole links, which will once again be known as The Rowley Country Club.

The property was first put up for sale in April 2011 ago by Windover Corp. of Manchester for $3.6 million. Ralph DiGiorgio and Thomas O’Connell of Middleton ultimately paid $1.4 million for the 89-acre site on Dodge Road.

The sale, which has been in the works since the fall of 2011, was at last finalized on Jan. 18 after the revised site plan was approved by the town, which had requested several changes. DiGiorgio said the process with the town was “quite enjoyable” and the town was very accommodating and offered some great suggestions.

The new development, which will be called The Residences at Rowley Country Club, will consist of 18 duplexes with a total of 36 units ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 square feet in size, which will be sold for $300,000 to $500,000.

The development will be open to all ages and not restricted to the original 55 and over population that was first planned. In addition, no affordable housing units are included in the site plan.

The entrance for the new development will be about 100 yards left of the current entrance to the property, with a new entrance for the golf club near the pro shop.

Workers are currently doing a complete renovation of the pro shop, which will ultimately have a new look, making it “warm, comfortable and inviting,” DiGiorgio said. The slightly expanded building will include a fireplaced-seating area and a covered patio area outside. Light fare, such as sandwiches and burgers, will be available, and possibly beer and wine as the new owners have applied for a seasonal liquor license. The pro shop and food service will be available only during the operating hours of the golf course.

“We were asked by many to keep the full Back Nine Tavern restaurant open,” DiGiorgio said, “but several code violations, such as not being handicapped accessible or meeting fire regulations, and simply the age of the building made it not economically feasible to keep it open.”

DiGiorgio didn’t rule out the possibility of including a full restaurant on the property in the future, noting that along with the purchase came the approvals to continue that business. The new owners have 24 months to make a final decision before the clause is no longer applicable.

Additional site work will occur over the next month and will include tree removal and the removal of the former Back Nine Tavern. Work on erosion control and erecting a construction fence will also occur. In March and April, the heavy earth work and construction will commence and last about six months. Once the model unit is completed, sales of the properties will begin.

Slight changes will be made to the golf course, shortening both the seventh and eighth holes and lowering the par on each. Additionally, over the next couple of years, course improvements will be made, such as creating new cart paths and redoing the greens.

The par-36 course, which will continue to be managed by B&D Golf Enterprises Inc. of North Reading, was founded in 1971. It features 3,325 yards of golf from the longest tees. The course rating is 35.4 and it has a slope rating of 127 on blue grass.