Augusta National Golf Club’s parking area for the Masters Tournament added eight more parcels Monday, nearing the completion of several years of property acquisitions off Berckmans Road.
The Augusta Planning Commission recommended approval for a special exemption allowing parking for one week a year during the Masters on parcels fronting Berckmans Road, Heath Drive, Stanley Drive and Hillside Lane.
The properties were recently bought by Berckman Residential Properties LLC, a broker that was part of acquiring dozens of properties in the Berckmans Road area to create a grassy meadow used for patron parking during the tournament.
“We’ve probably been here 20 times as various parcels have been purchased over the last few years,” said Patrick Rice, the attorney representing Berckman Residential Properties “This is getting towards the ends of those purchases.”
The petition was not opposed at Monday’s meeting. It goes before the Augusta Commission for final approval Aug. 20.
“I hope you’re satisfied with the way the property has been treated and nurtured,” Rice said. “I think it’s a huge addition to Augusta and certainly to the tournament.”
The land rush began in the late 1990s, when several brokers took control of the majority of land between Berckmans Road and Heath Drive. Lucrative sales created millionaires and multimillionaires in the modest, post-World War II neighborhood.
In the most recent transactions, Jerry and Sally Thacker sold their house at the corner of Berckmans Road and Heath Drive for $3,653,000. The home on 2.32 acres was valued at $424,729, according to 2013 property tax records.
Plans to widen and realign Berckmans Road finally persuaded the Thackers to sell, they said. The preferred route would cut through their front yard.
“We bought this house in 1991, and we thought we’d be here for 40 years,” Jerry Thacker said. “The road’s coming to our front door.”
The few residents holding out on the big earnings said they aren’t interested in selling no matter how great the deal.
On Stanley Drive, Herman and Elizabeth Thacker maintain a neatly kept, one-story brick home and manicured lawn. Despite having nearly no neighbors, they aren’t leaving.
“We just don’t have any desire to pick up and move. There’s not much more to say about it,” said Herman Thacker, the brother of Jerry Thacker.
Herman Thacker said that the golf club has approached them about buying but that no dollar amounts were ever discussed.
“Money doesn’t buy you everything,” he said.
While keeping their permanent home, the Thackers sold a rental property across the street for $1.2 million to Berckman Residential Properties LLC. The 0.91-acre lot was valued at $487,766.
Also on Stanley Drive, Mary Ann Richards is another one of the few remaining. Richards, 87, can’t remember whether a broker or Augusta National has ever offered to buy her house.
“I’ll be here till I die,” she said. “I think they know me and know I’m not going anywhere.”
One other house next door to Richards is owned by Security Land and Development Corp., the owner of National Plaza shopping center, site of the Publix Supermarket.