March 6, 2020
Illinois Athletics & The Atkins Group Exploring Options to Reopen Stone Creek Golf Club
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and The Atkins Group are exploring opportunities to continue operation of the Stone Creek Golf Club, the two entities announced jointly today. This could include The Atkins Group donating the golf course and related real estate to the University of Illinois.
Stone Creek Golf Club is an 18-hole public golf course located on approximately 190 acres in southeast Urbana. The Atkins Group, owner of Stone Creek since its opening in 2000, closed the course in January after 20 years of operation and has been evaluating options to redevelop the property. Stone Creek served as the home course of the Fighting Illini men's and women's golf programs for many years, up until its recent closing.
DIA and The Atkins Group have opened discussions with the City of Urbana and have plans to consult with the nearly 200 homeowners who occupy the neighborhoods developed by The Atkins Group in and around the golf course. The parties hope to reach some resolution on a potential partnership or transfer of Stone Creek in the coming weeks. More details will be announced as they become available.
The Atkins Group is an Urbana-based real estate development firm founded by Susie Atkins and her late husband, Clint. The Atkins family has been long-time supporters of Fighting Illini Athletics. A lead gift from the family allowed for construction of the Atkins Tennis Center in 1991. The Atkins family was an original lessor of the Founders' Suites in Memorial Stadium following its renovation in 2008. Most recently, in November 2018, Susie Atkins pledged a $3 million gift that made possible the new Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center, to open in late 2021.
The Atkins Group Redeveloping Stone Creek
"Our company's mission has always been the advancement and enriched development of our community," said The Atkins Group spokeswoman, Kate Klipp. On behalf of the ownership of the Stone Creek Golf Course, we want to inform you that after several years of efforts to make the golf course a financially viable business we have not been successful in doing so. The golf course is suffering the same effects of other golf courses nationally including the waning demand for golf, the escalating operating costs, and essential capital improvements that are necessary to provide a level of golf experience that is consistent with the quality of its surrounding community within Stone Creek. As a result, the real estate solutions firm is moving forward with a long range plan to redevelop the Stone Creek Golf Course and Attie's Bar and Grill. The object and design is to focus on environmentally-conscious conservation efforts that will enhance the aesthetic beauty and integrity of the property.
"We believe this will be a positive result and great outcome over the long run for the community," said Spencer Atkins, Director of Development for The Atkins Group. "We are committed to the success of the master plan community of Stone Creek, but unfortunately, due the negative financial impacts of the golf business we are no longer able sustain the golf course as a viable business for this area. Consequently, we have done a lot of work in an effort to provide a development solution that will provide more natural green open space, walking trails and other community benefits."
The transition of the golf course land is planned to provide the community with a balance and consistent master plan that preserves the natural topography and open space. As part of the planning efforts, we have commissioned an architectural and land planning firm to provide us with creative planning alternatives and responsible solutions as we seek to maintain and increase the high quality, integrity and value of existing homes and remaining land within the Stone Creek community. The Atkins Group has a vested interest in making this a positive outcome for all constituents as we are still the majority owner of the remaining vacant land within the community. Residents of each subdivision will have the opportunity to preview the proposed land plan and design sketches as we want this to be a collaborative effort with the communities' feedback as an important part of this process. We are excited to provide the master land plan information to the community including design features in Spring 2020.
As part of the transition plan, Kemper Sports, which has managed Stone Creek since 2012, will be handling the closure of the golf course operations. It is our plan to close Attie's restaurant on January 17th and the Stone Creek Golf Course and Pro Shop on January 31. The public is encouraged to use any gift cards or coupons good for a wide variety of golf and Illini merchandise up to and prior to the closure date of the Pro Shop. Stone Creek will be working with the staff and customers to make this transition as best as possible in consideration for all. Additionally, we will be coordinating with current scheduled events that will be impacted by the closure to relocate to a new venue. We are glad to provide all paid season golf pass holders to receive a full refund; please contact the Pro Shop for accommodations.