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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Sep 29, 2014
Success in Naples

(NAPLES, FL) Home to one of only two courses in the world created by the partnership of Greg Norman and Pete Dye, Talis Park is known for expanding the traditional idea of the club and embracing a healthy lifestyle. That focus has paid off handsomely this year as the luxury community has seen a surge in sales activity. As of the end of August they had processed 68 home site contracts and 34 new-build contracts valued at over $65 million. They are in good position to continue the sales surge right through the fall and winter with nine completed and soon to be completed Resident Ready homes anxiously awaiting new owners. The community’s commitment to a health oriented lifestyle is on full display 24 hours day at The Fitness Studio at Vyne House, which includes a movement studio created for spin classes, yoga, Pilates and dance programs.

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Sep 26, 2014
Half-Million Dollar Greens

(SALEM, SC) The pieces are coming back together at The Cliffs. The seven-community, seven-course community went through bankruptcy a few years back and a change in ownership. But if there was ever any doubt the 23,000-acre, two-state community was here to stay, their ongoing commitment to enhance and upgrade their offerings should quell those fears. A year ago, the long-awaited Gary Player design, Mountain Park, opened to great acclaim. And now, they have reopened their Keowee Fall Jack Nicklaus course after a $450,000 upgrade that included replacing all 18 Bentgrass greens with Champion Bermudagrass. They also added a short game facility to the course. It’s all part of a strategic plan designed to return The Cliffs to the ranks of the country’s premier private communities. A celebratory tournament to officially reopen The Cliffs at Keowee Falls to members was held at the end of August.

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