Palm Coast, FL, – June 25, 2012 – Luxury Team of Florida and Front Door Communities rolled out five builders offering home/lot packages starting in the $300's, with new club membership options and early bird incentives to an invitation only gathering of about 200 guests at The Conservatory, in Palm Coast, on Friday. The event was the formal kickoff of the repositioned community which features 340 home sites surrounding a Tom Watson signature golf course and 44,000 square foot clubhouse.
Luxury Team of Florida will have agents staffing a sales office within the clubhouse. The designated builders, who have committed to have models open by the end of the year, are:
The Conservatory was originally envisioned by Bobby Ginn as a luxury golf community, surrounding a Tom Watson signature golf course and 44,000 square foot clubhouse. In 2005, 340 lots were sold for prices between $329,900 and $529,900. Four builder models (million-dollar plus) and one private residence were completed. So too were the magnificent golf course and clubhouse. Then the real estate bubble burst.
The market is finally signaling the beginning of a recovery, but the original Conservatory vision needed to be realigned to the market reality; a community of more modest homes. That's hard to do once all the lots have sold and the infrastructure and amenities are built. Architectural and landscaping guidelines had to be adjusted downward as did the "one size fits all" Hammock Beach club and golf memberships. The Property Owners Association (POA) assessments had to be reevaluated too.
Front Door and Luxury Team assembled a substantial inventory of lots by offering the present owners premiums above current prices, to be paid when the house/lot package closes. Without new construction, prices would likely remain stuck at current levels.
Conservatory house/lot purchasers can choose a Conservatory Golf Club membership with an initiation fee of $20,000 and monthly dues of $375. The first 25 buyers will receive a waiver of the $20,000 initiation fee and two years dues. The first five will receive a third year of dues. Of course, they could choose to join the Hammock Beach Club at either the club or full golf membership levels. (The Conservatory membership does not include Hammock Beach Club or Ocean Course golf privileges.)
It was nearly seven years ago when Ginn sold the 340 Conservatory lots for a total of $141,000,000. I have chronicled the story in dozens of GoToby.com articles. In retrospect, the original Conservatory lot buyers paid substantially more than intrinsic value for the 340 lots. Unable to flip their investment, more than half the original buyers abandoned their mortgages. Foreclosures and tax deed sales eventually brought lot prices below $20,000, clearly as far below intrinsic value as the original prices were above it.
After the Savings and Loan (S&L) debacle of the 1980s, a comedian joked that he had just purchased a new toaster and got a free S&L. Now, buyers can purchase a Conservatory building lot for the original price and get a "free" house. Who could have predicted that? But the market is what it is.
I expect club initiation fee and dues waivers offered to the first 25 building contracts will spark construction beyond the committed builder models. Evidence of new construction, a resurgent housing market and lack of available existing home inventory locally should all work in favor of a successful re-launch. With a view towards risk vs. value, I give it thumbs up.