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$10.1M top bid for Cherry Hill golf course

A real estate group was top bidder this morning for the Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill at $10.1 million, according to a source familiar with the auction.

However, the results of the auction have not yet been formally announced. The 10 a.m. auction was closed to the public.

Woodcrest Country Club filed for bankruptcy last May.  Three bidders were known to have expressed interest.  The auction has been closely watched since the land dominates a large open space in Cherry Hill.  Residents fear it could be turned into a commercial property.  But, the land is currently zoned for institutional purposes and its owners would need zoning approval to change that.

Institutional use is defined in the township's zoning ordinance as nonprofit, church, library, school, medical facility, or government-owned for public purpose.

The known concerns that were expected to bid this morning:

-The Marlton-based real estate group, First Montgomery Group, which already had a tentative bid to buy the property for $6.25 million.

-An investment group led by George E. Norcross III and Ira Lubert. (Norcross is a member of the ownership group of The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and They hoped to continue the use as a golf course.

-Camden County. County officials had hoped to preserve the land.

-The Union League of Philadelphia, which hoped to continue the use as a golf course.

The minimum bid in this morning's auction was $6.5 million.

Norcross and Lubert, who were the latest group to announce their intent to bid, issued a statement just before noon saying they were disappointed in the outcome.

"We are disappointed that our $10 million bid was not enough to win the auction and ensure the restoration and preservation of this nearly century-old community landmark," the statement said. "As one of the largest remaining green spaces in Cherry Hill Township, this site is unique in all of South Jersey. While we are disappointed in the outcome, it is our fervent hope that the new owners will honor the longstanding community's wishes to keep this site open and available for all to enjoy for generations to come."