Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Sale: First Coast Golf Courses; Five Are on the Market Now, and a Sixth Is Likely to Join within 2 Months

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Sale: First Coast Golf Courses; Five Are on the Market Now, and a Sixth Is Likely to Join within 2 Months

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Want to buy a golf course?

How about six of them?

Perhaps it's a reflection of the economy. Perhaps it's simply chance. But at the moment five First Coast golf courses are up for sale and another will go on the market within 60 days.

"I can't ever remember that many being on the market at the same time," said Dave Reese, executive director of Florida's First Coast of Golf, a marketing firm that promotes golf-related tourism in the area.

Palencia, Royal St. Augustine and Cimarrone, all located in St. Johns County, are for sale, as is the lease on the Mill Cove Golf Course in Jacksonville. Mill Cove is on land adjacent to Craig Field that is owned by the Port Authority.

Also on the block is Magnolia Point in Green Cove Springs.

One real estate firm in Adel, Ga., Hilda W. Allen Real Estate, is listing three of the properties - Cimarrone, Royal St. Augustine and Mill Cove - and Allen said she expects her firm to be appointed to sell the Golf Club of Amelia Island, which is located next door to the Ritz-Carlton.

Allen said the three properties she is listing are attracting "a lot of interest."

M.G. Orender, president of Hampton Golf, which owns several courses on the First Coast, confirmed that his company has an interest in at least one of the courses listed by Allen but would not go into further detail.

The positives are that all of the properties are zoned for golf and can't be used for any other purpose.

That's a better fate than the one that befell courses such as Baymeadows (Jacksonville), the Ravines (Middleburg) and the Ponce de Leon (St. Augustine). They were purchased with additional development in mind but the owners were not able to secure the proper zoning and all three courses are closed.

"That's the good news about all of this," Reese said. "People will be able to keep playing golf on them after their sales."

Palencia is the only one of the six that is not a "distress sale." Its original owner, Hines, had planned to sell the course once development reached a certain level and that time came about two weeks ago.

The CB Richard Ellis Group is listing the property. A sale price has not been divulged.

Allen said it's not unusual for multiple golf courses in one area to be up for sale at the same time. Her firm, which specializes in the sale or auction of golf courses, has 21 listings, mostly in the South.

Mill Cove, which is listed for $1.25 million, is the closest to being finalized. The course, designed by Arnold Palmer, is listed as "sale pending" on Allen's website.

"There is a contract going back and forth," she said of Mill Cove's status.

Allen would not reveal the prospective buyer. Mill Cove's lease is currently owned by Silver Point, a hedge fund in Connecticut. …

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