Palm Coast, Florida – July 1, 2008 – Real Estate developer Bobby Ginn rolled out the long awaited Ginn One Club with a special announcement to members. The new plan gives Ginn Club members in good standing (dues paying) reciprocal privileges at other Ginn facilities, both in the U.S. and the Caribbean. This is likely the first step in an evolving definition of the One Club. It will enhance the member experience and increase the use of currently underutilized amenities.
In a recent meeting, Bobby told me of two additional phases of One Club under consideration. The first was the creation of callable memberships, available to non-Ginn property owners. Callable members would be granted the same privileges as full members, but they would lose their membership as the club rosters are filled with property owning members. The second phase under consideration would allow anyone to pay a fixed charge, up front, that would entitle them to a certain number of days/nights at any Ginn Resort.
And surely Ginn communities need a boost. Prices are depressed. Foreclosures, delinquent property taxes, unpaid club dues and association fees are not uncommon. A group of property owners at Tesoro, Ginn's luxury development near Port St Lucie, attempted to sell 6 homes and 16 lots at an auction, June 28. One local realtor reported that the auction was a total disaster. The property owners had been required to put up an estimated $150,000 (non-refundable) for marketing the sale. Bids did not reach levels desired by the owners (and in at least some cases, their banks). All bids except a $1.2 million bid on a waterfront 4BR, 5B home were rejected. The bidder on that home is still waiting to see if the bid will be accepted. Last year, an auction of 5 owner lots in Palm Coast area Ginn communities was equally unsuccessful.
The burst of the dot.com bubble fostered a rash of lawsuits, initiated primarily by investors who lost in the reversal of fortunes. Similarly, the real estate bust has brought on its share of legal challenges. Bobby Ginn has already been named as a target.
Bobby's announcement is reproduced below. I've bolded some text since it addresses some property owner's complaints that promised amenities remain unfinished long after they purchased their properties from Ginn. The One Club announcement comes on the heels of apparently successful attempts to increase sales at the Hammock Beach Resort near Palm Coast, Florida and the Reunion Resort near Disney World. Amenity memberships were packaged with greatly reduced prices (a la Centex at Tidelands), a strategy formerly shunned by Ginn.
A Special Announcement from Bobby Ginn
To our Members:
Over the past 10 years, with your help, we have created Ginn Clubs & Resorts. I am truly gratified with what we have accomplished together.
Thank you for believing in the vision we created for our Clubs and Resorts and for the loyalty you have displayed by standing with us throughout the years.
As a company, we strive to create the best possible experience for our Members and Owners. Today, we have taken the next step to making your Membership even more meaningful.
I am proud to introduce the Ginn One Club™, a new concept that will truly make us "One Club" and provide you with reciprocity at a selection of our Resorts and Clubs.
Here's how the Ginn One Club works:
This program provides Social and Golf Members who are in good standing with the opportunity to enjoy membership privileges at a selection of our Resorts and Clubs.
This selection currently includes:
• Ginn Reunion® Resort Reunion, FL
• Ginn Hammock Beach Palm Coast, FL
• Bella Collina® Montverde, FL
• Mahogany Run® St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
• RiverTowne Country Club Mount Pleasant, SC
• Patriot's Point Golf Links Mount Pleasant, SC
• Cobblestone Park® Columbia, SC
• Old Bahama Bay by Ginn sur Mer Grand Bahama Island
Members will also receive preferred pricing on lodging, food and beverage, merchandise and other amenities at participating Resorts and Clubs.
In addition, we will create an exclusive VIP concierge service that will handle all the details of your visit to a participating Resort and Club in the Ginn One Club program, including reserving tee times, hotel reservations, dinner recommendations and more.
There will be no additional cost to Members to participate in the Ginn One Club program.
We anticipate that the Ginn One Club program will begin in earnest in September 2008.
In the coming weeks, you will receive much more information regarding the Ginn One Club.
And while that is certainly exciting news, there is much more underway or in the planning stages at many Ginn communities.
At Hammock Beach, we have plans to expand our pool and food and beverage venues at the South Tower Plaza. The lobby area of Yacht Harbor Village will soon be completed, a tennis pro shop will open and a harbormaster will be added to oversee marina operations.
At Reunion, two pools at the Villas and a pool for Center Court Ridge are in the works. The Water Park will be expanded to include a Members-only area, and there are plans to build a temporary Nicklaus Clubhouse, which will ultimately be replaced with a permanent facility.
Cobblestone will celebrate the completion of their new clubhouse.
At Bella Collina, we will begin construction on the social and equestrian center.
As we look back, much has been accomplished over the past decade. We began with a single project, Hammock Beach, and today we operate 11 Resorts and Clubs around the country and the Caribbean and we currently have exciting plans underway for several communities still in development.
Over the last 12 months, we have celebrated the opening of magnificent Clubhouses and golf facilities at Tesoro, the Conservatory, and Bella Collina. Currently, we sponsor and produce four professional golf tournaments (two LPGA events, one PGA Champions Tour and one PGA Tour) and host a fifth (PGA Champions Tour).
In addition, we recently earned an incredible victory for our picturesque Battle Mountain ski and golf resort to be developed in Minturn, Colorado. Following the unanimous approval of our project by the Minturn town council, an overwhelming 87 percent of the town residents voted to approve our project and annex it into their town.
As a community-minded and environmentally-friendly developer, we continuously look for ways to enhance our surrounding communities. We recently closed on a transaction to sell Morris Island to the City of Charleston at a substantial price reduction. We did this so that Morris Island, a historically significant Civil War battleground featured in the movie "Glory," will be preserved in perpetuity.
Additionally, we have worked closely with Audubon Society of Florida to protect a bald eagle habitat at Tesoro and have also designated thousands of acres of land in many of our communities for environmental preservation.
As you know, there are challenging times ahead given the current conditions of the real estate and financial markets. While we are not immune to these challenges, we will certainly work hard to shore up our existing resorts and clubs, improve hospitality operations and do our very best to provide lasting, fun memories for you, your family and friends.
On behalf of all of us at Ginn Resorts, we hope that you truly enjoy the benefits that the Ginn One Club will offer. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you soon at a Ginn Club or Resort.
If you have any specific questions regarding the Ginn One Club, please contact your sales executive or your Club membership office.
Chairman and CEO
The Ginn Companies, LLC