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Oct 10, 2014
Ghost Town Stirring


(MONTVERDE FL) Once hailed as a rival to Isleworth and Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Bella Collina, has sat idle since 2007. Dubbed the “Ghost Town,” the luxury golf community already had a Nick Faldo-designed golf course and a $40 million, 50,000-square-foot luxury clubhouse built. Homesites were selling more than $1 million when it started out in 2004 (about 40 homes were built), but the construction crews left when the real estate bubble burst. According to the SunSentinel, “Lakeview lots sold for millions of dollars at the peak but then traded just a few years later for the price of a new Chevy sedan.” Lawsuits followed, promises of a new buyer were rumored, and the ailing community stood still in time. The development was eventually bought by DCS Capital Investments for $10 million in 2012 and work on a fitness center, pool and clay tennis courts was completed. Now construction has begun on new homes. In the coming week they expect to roll out 30 home sites and a new list of custom builders.

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Oct 08, 2014
Trevino Estate for Sale


(DALLAS, TX) Maybe the second time will be the charm. Lee Trevino put his Old Preston Hollow estate on the market again after briefly listing it earlier this year for $14 million. This time around the price has dropped to $13 million. Set on five acres of land, the 10,000-square-foot mansion comes with two putting greens and a resort-style pool. With his kids now in their 20s, Trevino and his wife, Claudia, are looking to downsize. Even with the million-dollar price drop, the Trevinos will do quite nicely if they get a buyer at or near the asking price. The couple bought the French-style estate in 1996 for $3.5 million, according to public records. The Wall Street Journal reports that the one of the greens features TifEagle grass; the other is synthetic turf with sand bunkers. There’s also a stream running through the property and a guesthouse. If you’re interested, the estate is listed with Sotheby's International Realty.

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Oct 06, 2014
Real Estate Gamble


(RANCHO SANTA FE, CA) High profile gambler Billy Walters rolled the dice recently with a no-reserve auction on his Rancho Santa Fe home, complete with a short-game practice area designed by none other than Dave Pelz. Originally listed at $20 million, the 21,000 sq. ft. home sold for $13 million. Walters is not accustomed to losing. CNBC reports that the avid golfer owns three courses in Las Vegas and often bets thousands of dollars playing. He told the Golf Channel of some people losing a million dollars in one round. And though it’s estimated he’s won tens of millions of dollars on sports betting, he told the Wall Street Journal, “We've lost money on every home we've bought and sold here.” If you don’t recall Walters from his 2008 win at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, you may recall that earlier this year he made headlines, along with Phil Mickelson and Carl Icahn, in an insider-trading probe. All three deny any wrongdoing.

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Oct 03, 2014
One Door or Two?


(NEW YORK) Can we talk? One of the casualties of the real estate recession was in luxury bathrooms. Back before the bubble burst, whirlpool tubs and bidets were in big demand in new luxury houses. But as the size of those big homes has shrunk, so have some of the demand for high profile bathroom fixtures. The biggest losers have been stand-alone bidets (down 34%) and whirlpool baths (down 9.4%), according to Home Innovation Research Labs survey reported in the Wall Street Journal. And while luxury homebuyers are being more judicious about high-end bathroom fixtures, they haven’t abandoned them altogether. These days, you’re more likely to see heated floors, steam showers, computerized controls, and large his-and-hers showers with two entrances. Age does make a difference. Older folks want separate showers, not just separate entrances. That’s enough bathroom talk for now.

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Oct 01, 2014
Hassayampa Rises Again


(PRESCOTT, AZ) The Hassayampa Golf Club may get to celebrate its centennial after all. The club first opened in 1919 and closed for the first time in 1969 after a 50-year run. For nearly three decades the course lay untouched. According to Hassayampa history, a group of local golfers and citizens worked with Desert Troon and Tom Weiskopf to reopen the course in 1996. The course’s history took some twists and turns in the decade that followed and finally ended up in bankruptcy in 2012. Now a new ownership group, led by former members and residents of the community,  announced last week that it has purchased the historic club and pledge it will re-open next year. That’s good news for the community, members ,and the prospects for throwing one heck of a centennial celebration.

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