Nimitz Group buys Mare Island Golf Club in Vallejo

The Nimitz Group has purchased 170 acres of land at the southern end of Mare Island, representatives with Nimitz told the Times-Herald this week.

Located next to the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve, the property formerly operated as the Mare Island Golf Club but had since fallen into disrepair, including being the target of vandals, after closing earlier this year.

Nathan Bergeron, chief operating officer of Nimitz, said in a news release that the group plans to keep the property closed to the general public for the rest of 2019 as it “assess next steps and feasibility of operations moving forward.”

In a separate interview, Bergeron declined to state how much Nimitz paid to buy the 170 acres. The Times-Herald reported in March that the property had been listed for sale for about $4.75 million by the then owner Konmer Venture, LLC.

The acquisition is just the latest for the development group which has plans for the other portions of Mare Island, including purchasing 500 additional acres from homebuilder Lennar, and developing 157 acres on the island’s northern section.

The Vallejo City Council entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement in July 2018 with the Nimitz Group for development of North Mare Island. Nimitz is proposing to open a 56-acre media campus, along with 15 acres for a wine processing facility.

Nimitz was founded by billionaire investor Gaylon Lawrence, Jr. and Dave Phinney, who opened Savage & Cooke Distillery on the island. The Nimitz Group has retained the San Francisco-based planning firm HOK to assist with development of Nimitz-owned property on Mare Island.

“The Nimitz Group will now work with HOK to incorporate the property into its master plan, and will be studying various use scenarios, golf being one of them,” Bergeron said in the same release announcing the purchase of the Mare Island Golf Club.

Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan said the Nimitz’s purchase of the course demonstrates its commitment to the city and Mare Island.

“I’m very excited about this. It’s just the start of a new beginning for Mare Island,” Sampayan said by phone this week.

Sampayan said he hopes Nimitz keeps the golf course, which could benefit from additional amenities besides golf.

Shortly after purchasing the property from Castle Linksters for $2.1 million, officials with Konmer Venture told the Times-Herald in 2014 that it planned to transform the 18-course into a business and tourist attraction with the addition of a 120 to 150 room hotel. Plans included a 5,000 square-foot restaurant and banquet facility.

Those plans never materialized and Konmer ultimately sold the property.

The former Navy base golf course opened in 1892 and came under the city’s control in 1995, as Mare Island was being decommissioned. The course had nine holes at that time.