Developer Seeks To Amend Offer To Buy Presbyterian Camps In Saugatuck
Developer David Barker is asking the Presbytery of Chicago to accept an amended offer to purchase the Presbyterian Camps in Saugatuck.
Barker says he will still pay the Presbytery the $10 million already offered for the land, but wants to change the deal to $9 million paid upon closing with the remaining amount to be paid within the next 18 months.
Presbytery officials are expected to meet this Saturday to discuss the proposed amended deal, but sources with the church group say they expect it to be approved.
That’s bad news for the Oval Beach Preserveration Society (OBPS), a nonprofit group that has been scrambling for the past year to raise funds to purchase the camp property.
That group last summer initially offered $4.5 million, but a month later upped it to $7.4 million.
Now the organization claims it has $8 million in pledges, but says it can only put down $1 million in earnest money, yet is willing to make that amount nonrefundable if they can’t make a deal to purchase the land.
The problem with that offer is that Barker currently holds an accepted agreement with the Presbytery, even though he is now asking to change the terms.
The Presbytery agreed to Barker’s offer of $10 million last year, primarily because it needs the money to pay off loans it had taken out to settle a 1990’s sex scandal that rocked the church.
The Presbytery had owned the 130-acres of property that fronts Lake Michigan for decades.
To make his deal work, Barke on Jan. 22 assigned his rights and obligations to his deal with the Presbytery with Dune Ridge SA, LP, a Delaware-based limited partnership.
That company’s general partner - Dune Ridge SA GP, - based in Michigan as a limited liability corporation - is managed by Paulus C. Heule of Grand Rapids. Heule heads the private equity company.
Heule co-founded with his late father, F.F. Carl Heule, the property management firm Eenhorn LLC based in Grand Rapids.
OBSP Spokesman Keith Walker, in detailing how his group planned to buy the property, said the organization would sell 30 acres located on the west side of the parcel that has previously been used as campsites to Lakeshore Christian Camping, a nonprofit organization.
It was members of Lakeshore Camping who two years ago tried and failed to raise the money to buy the Presbyterian Camps.
Walker, who is president of the Shorewood Association - a 25-acre, 26-home area located south of the campground - and a real estate lawyer, says the remaining purchase price would come from undisclosed private donors.
If it could find a way to get the Presbytery to accept its offer, OBSP says it would put the remaining acres into a conservation easement; let Lakeshore Camping use the back acreage as hiking trails via an easement; and donate 30 acres to the City of Saugatuck as an extension of Oval
Presbytery officials initially said they would not negotiate with OBSP as it had a firm, accepted offer from Barker, who also has an approval from the Saugatuck Planning Commission to create eight homesites fronting the lake.