Aug 06, 2014
History for Sale

WRAYSBURY, UK) History buffs take note. For $6.65 million you can own the historic British island in the River Thames where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. The 3.725-acre private island, where King John signed one of the most important documents in history, includes a 7-bedroom home, four reception rooms, swimming pool, cottage, moat, and “a Charter Room housing the stone on which Magna Carta is believed to have been sealed on this very spot.” According to Forbes, “The lush grounds, which feature a vast lawn, whimsical yew topiaries and several mature trees, lead down to the River Thames, where the property has almost 440 yards (402 metres) of frontage. A small bridge links the island to the mainland.” The UK’s Independent notes that the property is “in need of modernisation.” There’s also the matter of whether this is actually the spot where the Magna Carta was signed. Some references use the term “reputedly” when referring to the island. Maybe that leaves some haggle room in the selling price.

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Aug 05, 2014
Cause for Celebration

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC) - Palmetto Hall Plantation Club knows a few things about getting grass right. Nearly a decade ago vandals sprayed herbicide on the greens of its Arthur Hills course, destroying them. They closed both the Hills course and their Robert Cupp course for four months and planted 36 new greens. This time around, the change in grass was voluntary. They closed the Cupp course in May to replace the grass on the tees, fairways and roughs with new Celebration Bermudagrass. The course has now reopened. During the project, the club took great care to preserve the original, creative course layout designed by Robert Cupp,, who used a computer to design the golf course layout. That’s evident in the many sharp angles, straight lines, and geometrically shaped hazards found on the course. In celebration of the grand re-opening, the club will introduce a new social calendar featuring interactive activities for the kids, as well as updated social events and dining menus for the enjoyment of members and guests.

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Aug 04, 2014
Colossal Closet Caper

(WOODLANDS, TX) If you built a three-story, $500,000 addition to your home to house “a fortune's worth of expensive handbags, watches, shoes and other baubles,” we suppose it would be difficult to suppress the urge to show it off. But you might want to think twice. Former Texas beauty queen, Theresa Roemer, showed off her 3,000-sq. ft. “she-cave” recently on Good Morning America. It wasn’t long after that national exposure that thieves broke in and stole nearly $1 million of her prized jewelry, bags and other valuables, including Louis Vuitton and Gucci shoes, and Rolex and Cartier watches. Why, you might reasonably ask, would anyone need a closet as large as many homes? 'Yes, it’s full of amazing things,” Roemer told Houston’s KHOU, “but this closet was built and intended for fundraising.” Seems like the thieves would wholeheartedly agree. 

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Aug 01, 2014
Clubhouses Rule

(NEW YORK) There’s an upside to the downside of the real estate crash. Developers had to rethink their strategies. Now, instead of a building a top-tier golf course and a nice clubhouse, private communities are attracting luxury homebuyers with clubhouses that are the star attraction. The Wall Street Journal reported on the trend yesterday, “His-and-her massage rooms, guest quarters, art collections and farm-to-table cuisine help justify annual club fees and property prices that start in the millions. Developers also endeavor to create an intangible value—a sense that the clubhouse is the epicenter of a big, close-knit family.” Exclusivity, privacy, and over-the-top amenities that appeal to all generations of both men and woman are big right now. Brays Island Plantation, Shooting Star, and Fisher Island Club are featured in the piece.

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Jul 31, 2014
Stray Balls

(SCARSDALE, NY) It’s long been thought, and supported by the courts, that those who bought homes on or adjacent to golf courses assumed the obvious risk that came with the location. And while the notion that a homeowner “came to the nuisance” still generally holds true, several recent rulings are challenging that precedent. A couple of successful homeowner suits have employed a new legal theory that uses trespass laws to win their cases. Brad D. Steele, Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel at the National Club Association, notes in the organization’s newsletter that, “Recently, we have seen more plaintiffs cite ‘trespass’ laws as their basis for their lawsuit against a club,” he wrote. “They base their claim on the number and frequency of golf balls hit onto their property. Unfortunately, this claim is gaining traction.” In New York, Winged Foot Golf Club and Quaker Ridge Golf Club have already lost suits on that basis. Looks like it’s no longer buyer beware, but golf club beware.

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