Friday, January 4, 2013

Transactions, january 4, 2013

Toll Golf, an affiliate of the big home builder, has agreed to buy Snowmass Club outside Aspen, Colorado. “It’s a high-quality facility,” explained Toll Golf’s president, “and in a high-quality location.” The original golf course at Snowmass was co-designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay and opened in 1980. In 2003, however, the layout was completely redesigned by Jim Engh. The club is being sold by Aspen Skiing Company, an entity controlled by the Crown family of Chicago. Last year Crown Golf Properties, the family’s golf operations group, sold its other golf property in Colorado, River Valley Ranch Golf Club in Carbondale. Toll Golf operates two dozen golf properties in Florida, Virginia, California, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and other states, but Snowmass will be the only stand-alone golf property in its portfolio. The transaction is expected to close later this month.

Slowly but surely, the financial mess centered on Cordillera Golf Club is being cleaned up. At an auction late last year, a California-based investment group, Wind Rose Holdings LLC, agreed to buy the tony golf community in Edwards, Colorado, reportedly for $14.2 million. The sale, presuming it closes, ends Cordillera’s bankruptcy proceedings as well as all pending litigation between David Wilhelm, the community’s developer, and the club’s 600-plus members. Wind Rose intends to purchase Cordillera’s trio of 18-hole golf courses -- tracks designed by Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, and Hale Irwin -- but the community’s Dave Pelz-designed “short” course will be turned over to the homeowners’ association. In recent years only the Fazio course has been open for play, and that will likely also be the case in 2013. For those of you who keep track of who’s trying to buy what, Donald Trump was among the three bidders for the property.

A company controlled by New Zealand’s richest family has purchased Pegasus Golf & Sports Club and its accompanying community in suburban Christchurch. Todd Property Group, the real estate arm of the Todd family, paid an undisclosed price for the property, which includes 300 houses and an 18-hole golf course that was co-designed by Kristine Kerr. The firm has promised to complete the build-out, which will require it to build a town center, a school, and more recreational amenities. The Todd family, led by recently knighted John Todd, is worth $2.7 billion, according to National Business Review. As best I can determine, this is the family’s first golf acquisition.

An affiliate of Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation has paid more than $8 million for a 320-acre parcel in Tahlequah that includes Cherry Springs Golf Course. The property has been a source of friction for the sellers, who are members of the Berry family. “After several years of litigation, fighting over control of the property,” Brian Berry told a tribal newspaper, “we’ve finally come to an opportunity for the Berry family to go their separate ways.” The golf course was designed by Brian’s brother, Burl. The 6,814-yard track opened in 1989.

Two years after it filed for bankruptcy protection, Ford’s Colony Country Club in Williamsburg, Virginia has new owners. The club was purchased late last year by an unnamed group led by Accord Golf Capital and Och-Ziff Real Estate, a New York-based hedge fund. The new owners have hired Traditional Golf Management to operate the property’s three 18-hole courses, all of which were designed by Dan Maples. Traditional reportedly has an interest in Accord Golf Capital.

OnCourse Strategies, an Austin, Texas-based course owner and operator, has acquired its first golf property in Florida. In late 2012 the company paid $2 million for Sarasota’s Serenoa Golf Club, which had been foreclosed upon by its lender. The club features a golf course designed by Mark David Allen and is part of a 383-acre community that was begun by Cy Bispham. “We just saw good value, with a price that had potential to be a good investment for us,” J. Michael Ussery of OnCourse Strategies told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “The whole deal with being able to make a golf course profitable is first getting it at the right price, then having the expertise to operate it efficiently and effectively.” Ussery’s company has eight properties in Texas, among them WindRose Golf Club in Spring and Blackhawk Golf Club in Pflugerville.

Vanguard Golf Management and a partner have acquired Falcon Ridge Golf Course in Mesquite, Nevada. The course, which opened in two phases in the early 2000s, had been in financial trouble. The seller was a group led by Crescent Hardy, who co-designed the 6,550-yard layout with Kelby Hughes. Vanguard owns and/or operates four other golf properties, all of them in Utah. The group includes Thanksgiving Point Golf Club in Lehi and Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane.

Lostwithiel Hotel Golf & Country Club, outside Bodmin in Cornwall, England, has an unidentified new owner. The sale was brokered by GVA, which reports that the club was purchased by “a local entrepreneur with existing experience in the golf and leisure sector.” Thanks for nothing, guys. The so-called entrepreneur bought a 5,984-yard course that opened in 1991, plus a 28-room hotel. The sale was one of four that GVA has completed since October 2012.

In mid November 2012, Jim McNair, Jr. acquired Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Aiken, South Carolina. McNair, the owner of Aiken Golf Club, plans to upgrade Cedar Creek’s 21-year-old, Arthur Hills-designed course. A group of home owners in the accompanying community helped to facilitate McNair’s purchase, as financing was reportedly hard to find.

A group led by Rick Orizotti and Terry O’Keefe has purchased the 400-acre Canyon River golf community in Missoula, Montana. Canyon River is anchored by an 18-hole, 6,966-yard course that was co-designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley and opened in 2006. The community currently has about 60 houses, and the new owners hope to build 200 more.

In late 2012, affiliates of Meadowbrook Golf sold three golf properties in Florida: Tiger Point Golf Club in Gulf Breeze, Club at Hidden Creek in Navarre, and Shalimar Pointe Golf & Country Club in Shalimar. Textron Financial Corporation, Meadowbrook’s lender and a company that’s trying to exit the golf business, had set a deadline in late November for the sales.

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