For the past several years, the owners of The Lodge on Heath — the spacious 12,000-square-foot hospitality house located less than 150 feet away from Gate 9 at the Augusta National — stood proud and defiant.
The Lodge on Heath was the permanent neighbor to the Augusta National, whether the private golf club liked it or not.
Well, that legacy is no more.
The owners of The Lodge have sold the property to the Augusta National.
The actual sales price has not yet been filed at the courthouse, but speculation is running wild on exactly how many millions the club was willing to fork over for the property.
While the owners of The Lodge on Heath should be congratulated on the hefty profit they probably received by selling the property, it is still a sad day for Augusta and local businesses.
Goliath is winning.
Robert Williams, the owner of Roux’s Catering in downtown Augusta, made Masters Week at The Lodge a real occasion for all of patrons who walked through the doors.
The Lodge on Heath was the ideal location for Masters guests to congregate, relax and enjoy everything from outstanding food, a massage, a hand-rolled cigar or even instruction from a PGA professional golf swing analyst.
Now, those services that were provided by mostly local staff are all gone.
Money has magically transformed The Lodge into most likely more patron parking for the tournament.
It is just another of example of the Augusta National getting one step closer to closing off the Augusta community to all of the financial benefits of Masters Week.
And all of this happened before the Berckmans Road construction project even fully got underway.
With news that The Lodge on Heath had been sold, there has also been a great deal of speculation about what else might have been purchased by the Augusta National.
More neighborhood houses?
Entire blocks of homes?
But the biggest rumor of all has been about Jay’s Music & Sound Super Center located on the corner of Washington and Berckmans roads.
For the past week, folks around town have been whispering that owners Vera and Doug Frohman had sold their property to the Augusta National for a price ranging as low as $2 million to as high as $9 million.
But when a Metro Spirit reporter called Vera Frohman this week to ask if she had sold Jay’s Music, she was clearly annoyed that she was even being bothered with the question.
“We have not and please don’t call back here again. It’s very annoying,” Vera Frohman told the Metro Spirit reporter. “But, no, we have not.”
This comes not long after Vera Frohman refused to comment about the Berckmans Road realignment project.
“I can’t do it because I got some repercussions from commenting on it before,” Vera Frohman told the Metro Spirit last month. “I’d just rather not do it again.”
Either a deal is in the works to buy Jay’s Music or the Augusta National is extremely heavy handed when it comes to its surrounding neighbors.
Whatever the case, it’s not good for the Garden City.
Not good at all.