Brothers join forces to develop Howard County's first public golf course

August 25, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

When brothers Todd and Scott Arterburn decided to form Rainmaker Associates Ltd., their own development company, the golf course beckoned.

Not for pleasure -- though both are duffers -- but for business.

"It was an emotional response more than anything logical," said Todd Arterburn.

"You can build a building or redevelop a dilapidated townhouse, but nothing is quite so rewarding or as beautiful as walking out onto the first tee of a golf course and being able to say I had a part in making this happen."

Last week the pair got word that their company and the team of national experts they had assembled during the past five months will be the ones to make a new golf course in Howard County.

County public works officials selected the company and its team to design, build and operate the county's first publicly owned golf course, Center 9500 in Elkridge.

Eight companies submitted proposals for the project. The county won't announce Rainmaker's bid price until after it has submitted a final proposal, based on revisions the county has asked the company to consider, said Alan Ferragamo, the county's assistant to the director of public works.

That final proposal is due Sept. 19.

In packaging their proposal, the company was successful in landing Ken Killian, a nationally recognized golf course architect based in Chicago. The brothers had the good fortune to meet Mr. Killian several years ago while attempting to land work on a golf course project in the Midwest, Mr. Arterburn said.

Also on the proposal team: Wadsworth Golf Construction, which has built more than 300 golf courses in the United States, and Kemper Sports Management, a Chicago company that operates about 20 courses throughout the country, including Holly Hills outside Frederick. Hamel Construction Co., an Elkridge firm, will build the course club house, maintenance buildings and roads.

"One of the things about their proposal we really liked was that it would involve a number of very well known companies," said Mr. Ferragamo, the county's assistant to the director of public works.

"We are hoping we can learn a lot from their expertise."

The 3-year-old company was formed after Scott, a 31-year-old a civil engineer and Silver Spring resident, and Todd, 32, an Ellicott City financial officer, decided to make a change.

They named their company Rainmaker Associates for two reasons. Scott had helped pay his way through college working for an irrigation company named Rainmaker Sprinkler. As for Todd, the term "rainmaker" held significance in the financial world he had worked in that seemed fitting for the venture as well.

"The rainmaker is the person you turn to when you want a deal to finally happen," he said.

The brothers' first projects involved redeveloping town homes in the Federal Hill and Butcher's Hill neighborhoods of Baltimore, and on a design/build team seeking a contract for a new golf course in Connecticut, said Mr. Arterburn.

But the two had their eyes on the Center 9500 golf course project since the county and the developer had been in negotiations over who would build the golf course and how it would be financed.

"We're really excited about this. It's a local project that we'll play a part in and it looks like it's a course that will definitely happen. A lot of golf courses get proposed, but not too many actually get built,' said Mr. Arterburn.

The county wants the course to open in mid-summer 1996, said Mr. Ferragamo, the public works official.

The 18-hole course will be built on 196 acres that is part of Centre 9500, a new community to be developed by 100 Investment Limited Partnership on a 352-acre tract in Elkridge. The new residential, commercial and golfing community will be located just northwest of the Interstate 95-Route 100 interchange.

Once open, the course will be one of just two golf courses in Howard County open to the public. Willow Springs, a private club in West Friendship, allows nonmembers to play on a pay-per-day basis.

As for Mr. Arterburn, he's looking forward to the day the course is completed.

"I can't think of anything quite as rewarding as walking out onto the first tee as the sun is coming up on the first day of play."

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