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Westbrook's Sunset Ridge to stay as is

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Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 6:07 pm

WESTBROOK – The auction for the property known as Sunset Ridge Golf Links in Westbrook has come and gone, and while the identity of the new owner remains a secret, the property likely will not be changing that much.

“My understanding is that the buyers want to continue using it as a golf course,” said Stef Keenan, an auctioneer at Keenan Auction Co., the South Portland-based company that handled the auction on Feb. 29 at the golf course on Cumberland Street.

The 231-acre parcel went up for auction after Savings Bank of Maine foreclosed on the property last year.

This week, Keenan declined to identify the buyers. Records at the city’s assessing office do not reflect a change in ownership yet, nor do records at the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds. Portland attorney Steven E. Cope, who represented former owner Ron Edgecomb in the foreclosure, said neither he nor his client were involved in the auction, nor were they told who bought the property.

The bank’s attorney, Wendy J. Paradis, said on Wednesday that she had not yet received a purchase-and-sale agreement, meaning the sale was not finalized and she could not discuss the owners identity.

Keenan did say the winning bid was $610,000, a fraction of what city records say it is worth. Even with $60,000 tacked on in fees and back taxes, Keenan said the new owner would only have to pay $670,000. According to the city’s assessing records, the 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and associated property is worth $1.75 million.

The auction house also held a separate, online auction ending on March 1 for various equipment on the property. The auction included mowing and tractor equipment, an outdoor duel-fuel wood furnace, a dump truck, and “amusement equipment,” which included a nine-station batting cage.

Keenan declined to identify the winners of bids on that equipment, but said the winners were different from the property bidder.

Edgecomb bought the property in 1985, then a par-3, 9-hole course. Intent on expansion, Edgecomb added, among other things, nine more holes in 2007.

An accidental fire that year destroyed the 18th-century farmhouse that served as a clubhouse for the course. Edgecomb rebuilt it even larger than it was before, making it clearly visible from Cumberland Street. The property also offered a mini-golf course, driving range, and other amenities including basketball and tennis courts.

But the recession, coupled with a few rainy summers, made it tough for Edgecomb to stay in business. In February 2011, Edgecomb revealed that the bank was threatening to foreclose on the property.

A few months later, the club didn’t reopen for the season, and Edgecomb said then that the reopening was “on hold” pending a decision from the bank. For nearly a year, the club remained closed and unmaintained, until the bank announced the auction earlier this year.

Edgecomb himself still owns a home, now on a separate piece of property adjacent to the course. In a recent interview, he said he was not sure what he would be doing in the future.

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