Shuttered DFW country club to get new life after 149-acre property is purchased


Will Northern, a former Fort Worth zoning commission chair and owner of Crescendo Development, bought the 149-acre golf course.

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A closed country club in east Fort Worth remembered by local business owners and officials as a jewel in the area might see new life as a real estate group buys the golf course and surrounding land in a foreclosure auction. 

Will Northern, a former Fort Worth zoning commission chair and owner of Crescendo Development, bought the 149-acre golf course and clubhouse formerly known as Woodhaven Country Club, as well as 14 acres of commercial land across three parcels, on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse during a May 7 foreclosure auction.

Tarrant County documents show Woodhaven Country Club LLC defaulted on a $12 million loan. Northern said he bought the notes — meaning he assumed the debt — and then pursued foreclosure.

He bought back the property with a credit bid of roughly $8.5 million. The east half of the property is zoned A5 single family and CF – community facility on the west. Northern hasn’t made a determination about whether the land will remain a golf course. He said he wants to get buy-in from the community before deciding what to develop.

Northern, who is also a partner in Northern Crain Realty with Fort Worth City Council Member Michael Crain, formed Crescendo Development last year. He served on the Fort Worth Zoning Commission for eight years and was chair of the commission for three, and said that gave him experience seeing the trajectory of the city’s growth.

Woodhaven Country Club is surrounded by multifamily developments that now have low rental rates, high vacancy and high crime rates, he said, and called the country club a “diamond in the rough.”

“I think a lot of folks in the community have been wanting change but they haven’t had the right person to come along and …to execute on trying to make that happen,” he said. 

Woodhaven Country Club, built in the 1970s, used to be the epicenter of meetings and banquets for a variety of nonprofits, said Don Boren, president of the East Fort Worth Business Association. The club hasn’t been on his radar since it closed a few years ago.

“It would probably be ripe for redevelopment,” he said. 

Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tempore Gyna Bivens, the council member who represents east Fort Worth, also remembers the country club as a prime meeting spot. She thinks Northern is the right person behind the development, citing his experience with the zoning commission. She plans to introduce him to the community during a TIF district meeting June 5.

“What makes his purchase of the property as a developer so special to me is that this individual understands how to build in Fort Worth,” Bivens said. 

Northern said east Fort Worth has been traditionally neglected by developers. But he views this development as a good opportunity to create change.

“It’s shaping up to be a really unique opportunity when you take a step back and kind of take a macro look at Woodhaven,” Northern said. “Because in this … economic environment, there’s going to be a lot of property changing hands at a new valuation that is kind of creating this new basis, and making room for dollars to be invested to rise the tide, so to speak.”