May 13, 2015
Living Green in the Desert
(RIO VERDE, AZ) Yes, it is possible to live green in the desert. But it takes planning and commitment. Under the guidance of the Audubon International Sustainable Communities program, the folks at Rio Verde Community – the award-winning resort style residential development northeast of Scottsdale – are leading the way out West. They become the first Certified Sustainable Community west of the Mississippi River and fifth overall in the U.S. Their community-driven Long Term Sustainability Plan focuses on 15 areas, including wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water conservation, energy efficiency, health and transportation. Rio Verde’s implemented accomplishments include solar panels ion the community center that serve 25 percent of the building’s average energy demand, 15 acres of turf on the golf courses naturalized to desert landscaping to reduce water and maintenance requirements, more than 3 tons of citrus from residents’ trees annually donated to local food banks, and an annual educational event on living green that drew more than 100 residents. Looks like they’ve earned their “verde” moniker.
May 11, 2015
(NEW ORLEANS, LA) Affordable housing and golf courses may seem like strange bedfellows, but in New Orleans a new model is bringing the two together. According to The Times-Picayune, “when City Park's new championship course and golf complex is fully operating, as much as 45 percent of its profits will go to the Bayou District Foundation, a nonprofit that has steered a transformation of the troubled St. Bernard public housing into a mixed-income community in the years since Hurricane Katrina.” The Bayou District Foundation is taking a cue from Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club, which turned a crime-riddled community into one that has 542 mixed-income townhouses, duplexes and apartments, a charter school, a nine-hole public golf course, an urban garden, a YMCA and early education facilities. The championship golf course at Park City is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017.
May 08, 2015
A Resort Rises in the Desert
(LA QUINTA, CA) The drought in California has reached biblical proportions and has golf courses struggling for ways to remain viable without being a drain on the dwindling supply of water. Despite those concerns, SilverRock Resort has been given the go-ahead to proceed on a $420 million expansion. It will be the first large-scale golf course resort built in the Coachella Valley in almost three decades, according to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. The expansion is to include a luxury hotel tucked against the mountain overlooking the Arnold Palmer golf course, another nearby lifestyle hotel, a convention center, promenade of shops and retail, a mini-Riverwalk, high-end camping, residential units, hiking trails and a public park. Three holes at the Arnold Palmer golf course will be relocated to accommodate the luxury hotel. Work is set to begin in 2016.
May 06, 2015
The King’s Mansion
(MIAMI, FL) Golf’s King never had palatial surroundings as opulent as basketball’s King. But for a mere $15 million, you could. According to Cleveland.com, LeBron James has reduced the price for his six-bedroom mansion in Miami to $15 million, down from $17 million. If you buy, you’ll have some big shoes and tall spaces to fill. King James’ mansion measures 12,178 square feet with six bedrooms, nine baths, a huge kitchen, wine cellar, office, theater, elevator, generator, large private roof-top sun deck and a detached guesthouse. Odds are that you won’t have to duck through doorways. Outside is a stunning infinity pool, outdoor kitchen and boat dock that can accommodate, not one, but two mega yachts. And maybe with that reduced asking price, a membership at Doral is within reach.
May 04, 2015
Fractionals Future Improving
(SEA ISLAND, GA) If you’re wondering if a private residence club, or fractional ownership, is a good investment, it probably isn’t the right choice for you. The New York Times has been putting the spotlight on these type of offerings over the last few weeks, and the numbers, at this point, aren’t rosy. Sales are expected to top $1 billion this year, down from $2.3 billion in 2007. For those who bought shares at the peak, their investments have dropped 25%-30% from the peak. But those who are bullish on the concept say looking at it from an investment point of view is the wrong way to approach this type of ownership. John Rhodes, who paid $1.5 million in 2007 for his quarter-share in a three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo at the Cloister Ocean Residences (which are now selling for $1.1 million) told the Times, he did not buy it as an investment. At the time, it was one of the least expensive ways to acquire a Sea Island Club membership that includes golf. “For Mr. Rhodes and others, the selling point of these shares was often the ease of use, the amenities and the realization that most people do not use a vacation home more than 13 weeks a year,” said the newspaper.