Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort

Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort in Burrell Township was set for auction July 25.

BURRELL TOWNSHIP — Prospective buyers battled for ownership of the prestigious Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort and Conference Center near Blairsville on Saturday during an auction that attracted offers by telephone, online and in person at the resort.

Chestnut Ridge owners accepted the top offer of $2.4 million — with the buyer’s final price set at $2,640,000 including the 10 percent fee for the auction house, Hostetter Auctioneers, of Beaver Falls.

Auction manager Sherman Hostetter said the buyer’s identity would be kept confidential until the deal is closed. He only revealed that the high bid came from out of state.

A large commercial property “with a lot of moving parts,” he said, should be finalized in 60 days, but if the buyer is eager and can wrap up complications such as liquor license transfers in less time, Chestnut Ridge could officially change hands in 30 to 45 days.

“We had lots of interest and lots of participation,” Hostetter said.

The property sold 12 years ago for $7.5 million.

Current owners Tom and Jim Usher, of Pittsburgh, bought out their partners, Eugene “Huey” Bartolini, of Saltsburg, and Matt DeRose, of York.

Hostetter said the Ushers wanted to move on to other interests in their lives.

The 345-acre Chestnut Ridge complex includes two 18-hole golf courses, 35 acres of undeveloped land, a luxurious banquet and conference facility and clubhouse for the golf center. It enjoys a highly visible location near the interchange of Routes 22 and 119 with a shopping center and competing hospital-based primary care medical center as its neighbors.

A golf property appraiser, Larry Hirsch, of Philadelphia, told the Gazette in June that the game of golf has struggled with declining interest for more than 10 years, but said the COVID-19 pandemic had fueled an increase in interest because of the ease of social distancing for the players.

“Golf is a socially distance friendly activity so there are a lot of people returning to golf,” he said, predicting that the well-maintained facility was a high-quality opportunity among other golf courses on the market this year.