For sale: 18-hole Lake County golf course, slightly used and priced to sell

Looking for a unique gift for that special someone? The Midlane Country Club in northeastern Lake County is available at a suggested opening bid of $2.5 million.

That covers an 18-hole golf course and the adjoining property totaling 315 acres - a relative bargain if you could find that much undeveloped land and start from scratch, according to Chicago auctioneer Rick Levin of Rick Levin & Associates.

"To replicate the property would be $15 million," said Levin, who is representing the property owners, Midlane Partners LP and Midlane Development.

After 30 years, the owners are ready to divest, Levin said. Rather than a traditional listing, an auction is a way to determine its worth.

"This is a good example of an asset, in my opinion, that's kind of hard to value," he said.

"It's really to create an urgency - get the property sold sooner rather than later but also to determine its value," he added.

Sealed bids must be tendered by March 30. On-site inspections are scheduled for March 8, 16 and 24. The auction is held "with reserve," meaning the seller has the right to reject any offer, Levin said.

Midlane is at 4555 W. Yorkhouse Road in Waukegan with a Wadsworth mailing address. Encore Events North Shore, the on-site banquet facility that can accommodate 400 people, is not part of the sale.

The course opened in 1956. It was designed by Robert Bruce Harris, one of the biggest names in the industry after World War II and among the founders of the American Society of Golf Course architects. A new back nine designed by Bob Lohmann was installed in 1997.

Midlane has been ranked among the top 20 courses in the Chicago area and hosted a U.S. Open qualifier in 2017, according to Levin.

The practice range and parking lot occupy about 180 of the 315 acres, said Levin, adding that 119 acres must remain dedicated as a golf course.

"There's a lot of potential to do other cool things on the property," he said.

The location near North Shore communities as well as Waukegan, which soon will host the only casino between Des Plaines and Milwaukee, are mentioned as major selling points.

Surrounded by about 750 homes, the property currently is zoned CR conservation/recreation/agriculture, according to the city of Waukegan. Allowed uses include botanical and zoological gardens and arboretums; forest preserves, wildlife preservation and ecological sanctuaries; hiking and biking trails; parks and playgrounds and public beaches; and building or tower-mounted antenna for wireless communications.

But its next owner could seek a change from the city.

"At the end of the day, it's whatever the owner wants to do and whatever Waukegan will let them do," Levin said.

The golf course is generating positive cash flow for the property owner, according to auction material.

Mundelein-based GolfVisions Management Inc. signed a five-year agreement in 2017 to lease and operate Midlane. The lease was extended last fall for another five years, according Tim Miles Sr., president and CEO.

Miles said the owners were ready to cash out and he isn't overly surprised the property is being made available.

"It's not going to be anything but a golf course," he said. "We're going forward as if we'll be there the next 10 years."

GolfVisions leases or manages 14 courses throughout the Chicago area, including seven in Lake County. The golf business has been "spectacular" the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

Potential buyers could include an affluent individual, a group of investors or people involved in the golf course business, Levin said.

"It will be interesting to see who buys it," Miles said.

The fourth green at Midlane Country Club on Yorkhouse Road in Waukegan. The course, which opened in 1956, and adjoining property is being sold at auction, with a suggested opening bid of $2.5 million. Courtesy of Jeff Cohn Photography
A sign advertising the pending auction of the Midlane Country Club on Yorkhouse Road in Waukegan. The 18-hole course and adjoining property totaling 315 acres has a suggested opening auction bid of $2.5 million. Courtesy of Rick Levin & Associates Inc.
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