Kuhn Offers Westpark Property to Leesburg for $3.4M

Efforts to preserve the former Westpark Golf Club property in Leesburg as open spaces are advancing.

On Monday, Chuck Kuhn, via his attorney, sent a letter to Mayor Kelly Burk, offering the town the opportunity to purchase the majority of the Westpark property from him for $3.4 million. Kuhn, known locally as the CEO of JK Moving Services and as a noted conservator of land, is under contract to purchase the property. The letter, which Loudoun Now obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, offers the town the opportunity to purchase 134 acres of the land that for more than 50 years was home to the golf course. 

Under the conditions of sale spelled out in the letter, the 134 acres would be placed into conservation easement. Kuhn would retain the eight acres of the Westpark land that is currently zoned for commercial use for the development of a hotel site. He said via email that he has not yet determined what he would do with the commercial property, but made his hopes for the town clear.

“We are attempting to place the current golf course into conservation easement and sell the property to the Town of Leesburg post easement at a greatly reduced price with the hopes that the Town of Leesburg would create a public park with the open space,” he said. “We are working closely with Mayor Burk who is a strong advocate for protecting the open space at the Westpark Golf Course,” he wrote.

The letter from Kuhn to Burk states that the purchase agreement must be drafted between the two parties and executed by the seller and purchaser no later than July 1.

The Westpark property originally went up for sale in the late summer of 2017. The original contract purchaser, CalAtlantic Homes, which later was acquired by Lennar, envisioned a townhouse development on the land. Those plans were largely opposed by neighbors and the Town Council last year denied a rezoning application for that project.

Many residents in previous community meetings have urged the town to purchase the land and either develop it as a park or continue its golf course use. A memo to the Town Council in late 2017 recommended against operating the property as a government-run golf course, citing the high costs of maintenance, operation, and capital improvements, and low return on investment.

The Town Council has not yet discussed purchasing the property as a government body, and it was unclear whether a work session on it would be scheduled in the near future. The offer to acquire the property at $3.4 million comes in the midst of an upcoming difficult fiscal year 2021 for the town, with Town Manager Kaj Dentler recently putting fiscal year 2020 revenue losses for the town in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic at around $600,000.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

6 thoughts on “Kuhn Offers Westpark Property to Leesburg for $3.4M

  • 2020-05-15 at 3:01 pm
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    Yes, yes, yes, 1,000 times over yes.

    $25k/acre in Leesburg. That’s a deal!

    A park is the perfect use for this land.

    • 2020-05-17 at 9:22 am
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      Except the last applicant for that commercial space tried to *give* this property to the Town. Why would a developer try to give away property that they just bought? Because they know it would cost more to maintain it, since they can’t build on a floodplain.

      Now, we have a new buyer, who, before they submit any official plans for the commercial space, wants to *sell* the floodplain land (for $3.4mil), and NOW the Town wants to bite? So that we can then pay millions more to mitigate the flooding the maintain the mowing (which Town Staff estimated at $50k per year)?

      What am I missing? We want to use our taxpayer monies, in the midst of a pandemic, to purchase property so that we can assume the further financial responsibility of maintaining it? Why can’t Kuhn keep the land and maintain it, instead? Or, at the very least, what about selling it to the County and not the Town – if anyone has been paying attention to the budget meetings, this is money we don’t have! I just don’t get it, what am I missing?

      • 2020-05-18 at 10:05 am
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        I don’t know what Leesburg is waiting for. Previously, the prior developer offered (approximations) 110 acres to Leesburg for free for the approval of 27 houses. Leesburg should have jumped at that opportunity. Neighbors complained about the new houses and Leesburg didn’t approve. Now, there is an opportunity to have nearly the entire parcel with no houses. Leesburg will have to pay $3.4M for that lack of 27 houses. I hope Leesburg jumps at this opportunity. How much better can this get? What more could Leesburg want?

        The fiscal timing is terrible because the Town is now in a budget hole, but this is probably the only opportunity Leesburg will ever have to establish a 100+ acre park.

  • 2020-05-17 at 2:45 pm
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    I agree with David Dickinson. This is a win for both the Town of Leesburg and the residents.

  • 2020-05-18 at 7:56 am
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    If he says he is a “conservationist,” he should put it in permanet conservation and the town does not need to outlay the funds? Read the Hook has an interesting article, Scenic treasure: How conservation lines the pockets of the rich. It says it all.

  • 2020-05-19 at 6:49 am
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    This is a rare opportunity for the Town to demonstrate the successful execution of a public private partnership. Investing in our commercial tax base lowers our cost of living. A hotel or business on the 9 acres near Rt. 7 will create local jobs and generate tax revenue without the costs (schools, etc.) associated with residential development. Businesses recognize the workers they want to attract prize quality of life amenities like parks and green space. Westpark is some the last open space in town limits and perfect for low impact recreation. Shenandoah University has done an excellent job of re-purposing a golf course into a passive park in Berryville https://www.su.edu/cool-spring/visitor-information/

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