Myers Park Country Club implements new rule on members who sue
Myers Park Country Club has added a new perk to joining: immediate suspension if you sue the club. The Charlotte Ledger business newsletter reports this new policy was implemented after a member sued last year seeking the release of financial records. A judge recently sided with the member and has ordered the club to pay his legal fees of $37,000. For more, WFAE's Marshall Terry talks to the Ledger’s Tony Mecia.
Terry: OK, Tony, we'll get to this new policy in just a moment. But you've been following this story for more than a year now. Remind us, how did this all begin?
Mecia: Sure, Marshal, this started a few years ago when Myers Park Country Club started drawing up plans for a renovation of the clubhouse tied to its 100th year anniversary. They were planning a $27 million renovation, and some of the renovation plans were met with objections by some club members who pointed out that the club was planning to expand its gentleman's lounge, also known as the Men's Grill, a men's only space, and expand it into an area that was previously a coed dining room and there was no comparable space just for women. And so they said, well, this is unfair. This is the 21st century. You know, we shouldn't have this.
There was a debate over that. One of the members of Myers Park Country Club, a man named Mark Irwin, he was a former ambassador under President Clinton to a couple of island nations in the Indian Ocean. And he has his own investment firm. He sued the club not directly over the renovation, but he wanted records, wanted financial records, communications that would enlighten the members on the decision-making of the board to undertake this renovation. So he sued one of the records. The club fought him in court and largely lost. They had to turn over about 20,000 pages of documents to Ambassador Irwin. And so this rift is still ongoing. The renovations, I should mention, have started. But now, you know, they're at least a little bit more of an understanding, I guess, among club members about what led to that decision.
Terry: So the club now has implemented this new policy, saying if members sue, they'll be suspended. What's been the response from club members over that?
Mecia: Well, I talked to a few of them this week. They don't like it. They say it's another example of the club being heavy-handed in its approach to some of the people that disagree with the board. Now, I've talked in the past to other club members who say, you know, this is not a big group of people who are objecting to this and that a majority of the club members are in favor of the renovations and back the board. There was an election last year in which the existing board members won reelection. So it does indicate that maybe a majority of the people at Myers Park Country Club are happy with the direction.
Terry: Well, sticking with Myers Park Country Club for a moment, you report that some neighbors are puzzled as to why the club recently bought a house close by. What's going on there?
Mecia: Yeah. Property records last week showed that Myers Park Country Club has bought a house on Pender Place, sort of near the clubhouse for $1.4 million. It's a residential house. It's a couple of houses in from the country club near the 10th fairway and near the club's pool complex. And it's raising some eyebrows in Myers Park. People wondering why are they buying houses? And the answer seems to be that they're sort of land banking, that they're looking to the future and thinking, well, we're kind of landlocked here in Myers Park. If we want to expand in the future, we're going to need property to do that. And as things come available, you know, they're going to buy them up. So they own a couple of residential lots with houses on them, also a couple of condos. And so that looks to be the explanation. The club says they don't have any concrete plans at the moment.
Terry: All right. Now on to a topic that frequently comes up during BizWorthy the explosion of apartment construction in Charlotte. You report that so many apartments are being built right now, that it has actually set a record. So just how many are being built?
Mecia: Yeah. According to Costar Group, which is a real estate data service, there are about 20,000 apartments in Charlotte under construction. And it's no secret a lot of people are moving here, that there's a need for more housing. And so that's why those houses are being built.
Terry: So what's the average rent right now in Charlotte?
Mecia: You know, the numbers come from different sources and vary, but it looks to be about in the $1,400 to $1,600 a month range. There have been some big increases in the last year. Anecdotally, you have some people who say their rents are being raised by several hundred dollars a month. You know, the statistics would show that the year over year increase is around 15 to 20%. Know that hits different in different places. If you have an apartment out by the airport in that direction of town, you know it's going to be less probably than new apartment in South End or NoDa.
Terry: Yeah. So obviously, a range of different rents in the city. Is it places on the higher end going up driving up the average price or places on the lower end going up or is it both?
Mecia: Yeah, I mean, certainly the demand is increasing and, you know, the thinking would be there still aren't enough apartments to meet the demand, so that would cause the prices to rise. You're also seeing a lot of new, really nice apartment complexes close to the center of town with a whole bunch of amenities. And so those tend to fetch a higher price. Fetch, meaning a lot of them have dog parks and dog washing bays, that kind of thing. The other part of it is if you talk to landlords and you talk to the local apartment association is that they point out that during these eviction moratoriums, during COVID, they weren't able to get some of the money coming in that they were accustomed to. And so some of these increases, they say, might actually spring from that.
Support for BizWorthy comes from Sharonview Federal Credit Union, UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business and our members.