Midlane Country Club property up for auction, further development; ‘Waukegan is hot right now’

MAR 11, 2022  7:17 AM

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Chicago Tribune.

Midlane Country Club contains 310 acres, of which less than half is the actual golf course. - Original Credit: News-Sun
Midlane Country Club contains 310 acres, of which less than half is the actual golf course. - Original Credit: News-Sun (Rick Levin Associates / HANDOUT)

From a potential golf resort to complement the American Place casino coming to Waukegan, to a private golf course for a few wealthy individuals, the Midlane Country Club is available for purchase with more than a third of its 315 acres vacant and not part of the golf facility.

Rather than list the property for sale, Midlane’s owners for more than 30 years are auctioning the Waukegan property to generate interest.

Midlane Country Club in Waukegan will be sold to the highest bidder at a real estate auction on March 30, with an 18-hole golf course, buildings related to the property and additional land for potential development.

Though the suggested opening bid is $2.5 million, Rick Levin of auction firm Rick Levin & Associates said the property was previously valued at more than $15 million. Replacing it on another similar-sized tract of land would cost more than $15 million.

“To replace it, you have to find the land,” Levin said. “As Mark Twain said, ‘They’re not making any more of it.’ Once you do, you have to put in all the storm sewer systems, and then you have to design the golf course. This one is ready to go, and Waukegan is hot right now.”

Levin said potential purchasers put their bids on a standard real estate contract, which he will provide. They submit it, inserting their name and a cashier’s check for 10% of the bid. The seller has the option to reject all bids regardless of price.

“If their bid is accepted, we’ll close in approximately 30 days,” Levin said.

Midlane Country Club in Waukegan will be sold through an auction March 30. - Original Credit: News-Sun
Midlane Country Club in Waukegan will be sold through an auction March 30. - Original Credit: News-Sun (Rick Levin Associates / HANDOUT)

Any perspective bidder has the opportunity to inspect the property ahead of time, and do whatever studies they deem necessary. Levin said public inspections will take place between noon and 2 p.m. March 16 and 24, or by appointment. Some inspections have already taken place.

Cary Glenner, one of the Midlane owners, did not foresee any specific situations which would prompt him to reject a bid, even if it was more than another. He said he takes his more than three-decade care of the 314 acres very seriously, and wants to the new owner to do the same.

“I’ve been the steward of the land for over 30 years, and it’s time for someone else to take that role,” Glenner said. “It’s time for someone else from the public to take control, and be a good steward of the land and make Midlane even better.”

With American Place’s temporary casino opening in July and the permanent gaming resort planned for completion two years later, Levin said it is one of the reasons Midlane is a good investment opportunity.

“There could be a lot of synergy there,” Levin said. “People are now talking about Waukegan. It’s a good opportunity for people coming to Waukegan for the casino. Some of them will want to play golf too, and we have a golf course.”

Multiple opportunities exist for the property. Levin said a new owner might want to reconfigure the course with some of the additional property improving it. They may want to leave it as open space. Some potential buyers have given some unique ideas.

“Somebody called me and wanted to know if they could grow grapes,” Levin said. “There are little lakes adjacent to the golf course. You could row a boat there.”

Glenner said some of the property is zoned residential, and other portions come under conservation zoning. Passive recreation is a possibility for the land not currently part of the golf course. Some of it could be used for affordable housing.

Any use not coming under current zoning would require going through a rezoning process with the city of Waukegan, Levin said.

Levin said a small group of people might want to purchase the property for a future investment and use it as their own private golf club while the land increases in value.