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Exeter supervisors taking steps toward selling Reading Country Club

The Exeter Township supervisors voted 4-1 to allow interim township Manager Larry Piersol to take preliminary steps toward selling the Reading Country Club.

The township bought the 134-acre property at 5311 Perkiomen Ave. for $11.9 million in 2006.

Construction of the golf course began in 1923, designed by Alexander Finlay, a Scottish immigrant, and boasts a 20,000-square-foot Tudor-style clubhouse with a restaurant and banquet facilities designed by Reading architect Harry Maurer. It was finished in 1931.

The club has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2018 but has been dogged with temporary closures, controversies and deficits for nearly the last two decades with the township at the helm.

Supervisor Chairman John Piho said during the supervisors meeting Monday night that club expenses for 2023 neared $1.6 million, not to mention maintenance and public works costs.

Township residents were also hit with a 21% real estate tax increase for 2024, among other hikes.

Last year the township entered into a three-year partnership with Reading Hospitality LLC, which also runs the Doubletree by Reading hotel and other operations, providing the township with a growing income.

Supervisor David Hughes voted against the potential sale and suggested waiting until the township had a new manager who could better understand preparing the property for a sale.

Residents also had concerns about losing a township treasure.

“This is in a very preliminary stage of discussion, ” Piho said.

Piho said a professional investment group is interested in the property and would plan to retain the golf course and reopen the restaurant and banquet facilities seven days a week.

Piho also said the potential buyer has preliminary plans to connect Gibraltar Road to the property.

Shopping center

In other business, the board voted 4-1 to enter into an agreement with the Berks County Redevelopment Authority for the sale of the former Promenade shopping center.

Demolition of the former Promenade shopping center in Exeter Township is underway. Plans for the township-owned property on Perkiomen Avenue include a new township facility to consolidate services and administration.
The Promenade Shopping Center Plaza in Exeter Township was demolished in April 2021. (READING EAGLE)

The authority is set to spend $3.1 million for the property at Perkiomen Avenue and East Neversink Road.

A previous board agreed to buy the property along the 3900 block of Perkiomen Avenue for about $2.5 million, expecting to move the township facilities there.

Among other issues, deteriorating infrastructure, cost concerns and a new board eliminated that plan.

The vacant Promenade structure was demolished in April 2021.

Piho said the township pays almost $20,000 a year on maintenance and related expenses.


Source: Berkshire mont

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