In the booming real estate market around Atlanta, land owners who take the money and run are the norm. But the Callahans have decided to preserve their beautiful farm land by building a golf course with no residential development.
The Callahans are willing to sacrifice instant wealth because they love their land. Apparently a golf course provides a vehicle for realizing some income from the land without destroying the beauty of the land. This is great news at a time when we see pastures and barns turned into housing developments and shopping centers at a rapid pace on the outskirts of Atlanta.
Betty Callahan and son Matt are forgoing millions to preserve their land and build a prime golf course there.
Callahan owns 450 acres north of Canton that could attract several million dollars from developers eager to build in rapidly growing Cherokee County. But she wants to hold on to the land, which her family has owned for more than 150 years, picturesque property that includes pastures, lakes and valleys.
At an estimated market value of $20,000 to $30,000 per acre for residential development and $150,000 per acre for road frontage property, the Callahans could take the money and move to another paradise. But the Callahans say all the money in the world isn’t worth giving up their heritage.
"Anyone in the business world can’t believe we’re not selling to developers," said Matt Callahan, 45. "The whole point is to preserve the land. I grew up riding horses through these woods. There are deer, wild turkey, geese. It’s beautiful. It’s pure, pristine land. I could never sell it."
Located on Ga. 140, the property boasts a vista that prompts even the fastest drivers to slow just a bit to glance at the rolling green hills and huge expanse of sky. Instead of selling the land to developers, the family will do what few large landowners have done in Cherokee County — keep the land in the family and build a 250-acre golf course.
The Callahans will remain in their homes, which now overlook pasture and grazing cattle.
Most of the Callahan estate was purchased in the late 1800s for 50 cents an acre, in an area known as Carpenter Flats. The Carpenters and Callahans were dairy farmers and millers, and grew cotton, corn and other produce. After World War II, the cultivated fields became pastures for beef cattle.