What's in a name? A better future for one North Carolina mountain golf community

         The folks who developed the standard in southern golf communities, Reynolds Plantation in upstate Georgia, are putting their mark -- literally -- on Laurelmor, the high-end community near Blowing Rock, NC, that the firm took over in the wake of Ginn Resorts' major loan default.  Laurelmor is now Reynolds Blue Ridge.  The company announced the change, along with other information about plans for the community, in a posting in the last few days at the community's web site, according to Toby Tobin, who has followed the Ginn saga closely at his web site GoToby.com.

         The announcement comes as a mixed blessing for those unfortunate souls who plunked down an average of $625,000 per home site during the ill-fated Ginn era.  Reynolds is a sharp outfit by

Laurelmor owners dropped an average of $625,000 for their home sites.  New pricing puts the average at around $355,000 (assuming an equal number of houses in each price range).

reputation, and they would not be taking on the Laurelmor project without a solid plan for success.  Unfortunately for current property owners, that means cutting lot prices to a range of $139,900 to $569,900, or an average price of $354,900 (if an equal number of properties across the range).  It could take the better part of a couple of decades for those early properties to regain all that lost value, but with Reynolds involved, at least some value remains.

         In order to encourage property sales, Ginn had waived initiation fees for the golf course for the first 179 property owners.  Reynolds announced it will honor that agreement, and that memberships current and future will have a "generational" option, which includes grandparents, children and grandchildren in the membership.  Reynolds is offering other incentives, including a home site exchange program, to assuage the pain of those first owners, which is more than owners in other bankrupted communities are getting.  The cautionary note here, as always, is to proceed very carefully when buying the promise of future amenities in a new golf community.  And to know the difference between hype and solid, sustainable performance.

        You can read Toby Tobin's article at GoToby.com.

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