Ginn-LA Riles Hammock Beach and Ocean Hammock Residents with Condo Hotel Plans

Ginn wants to modify the previously approved Ocean Hammock development agreement, reallocating residential density to allow a hotel and/or condos along 16th Rd and on some existing golf property.

Click to Enlarge - Ocean Hammock DRIPalm Coast, Florida – April 30, 2009 – Real estate developer, Ginn-LA (Ginn plus financial partner Lubert Adler) has riled Ocean Hammock and Hammock Beach residents with its petition to change the existing development order in order to shift currently unused but previously approved residential density to a newly created cluster currently occupied, in part, by golf course property. The newly created cluster, designated as #35 in the map at the right, would be entitled  for 1,147 "Ocean Recreation Hotel" units. [Note: click on the map for an enlarged image.]

When a proposed development is so significant that its approval will have regional impact, it is identified as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI). Known as the Hammock Dunes DRI, the original plan was approved in 1984. It covered the 2,258 acres of what became Hammock Dunes, Ocean Hammock, and Hammock Beach. 6,670 residential units were approved along with "related commercial, institutional, recreational, and other uses."

The DRI was subsequently amended in 1995 to reduce the number of residential units to 4,400. There are approximately 3,200 residential units (including vacant lots) in the current community. The remaining vested units are scattered among nine areas designated as cluster communities. Ginn-LA wants to amend the DRI to shift 1,147 residential units to a newly created 34 acre cluster on what is now partially golf course and practice area and the current lodge complex. Needless to say, current residents are angry; angry about the concept, and angry that no property-owner group was contacted prior to Ginn's petition.

About 100 residents and property owners attended an Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association (POA) meeting to express their feelings. Another 40 – 50 residents attended Council Chair Milissa Holland's community chat Tuesday evening. While voices were not raised, the discontent was palpable.

The Notice of Proposed Change (NOPC) was filed with Flagler County on March 2, 2009. Following public notice, the item was placed on the April 20th County Council agenda. Petitioner Ginn-LA Marina LTD, LLLP indicated it had simultaneously filed petition copies (as required) with the North East Florida Regional Planning Council and the Bureau of Local Planning, Department of Community Affairs. When county staff discovered that the simultaneous filings had not occurred, the item was removed from the agenda. The petition is now scheduled to be on the June 1, 2009 County Council agenda.

County Council's task will be to determine whether the petition constitutes a "Substantial Deviation" from the DRI as currently approved. Florida statute is very clear on the process which must be followed. If the council determines that there is not a substantial deviation, the development may proceed without an avenue for appeal. Of course the magnitude of the change would require re-platting, site plan approvals, etc.

Should County Council determine that the proposed change is a substantial deviation, it would trigger a review process involving regional and state entities as well as public hearings.

In addition to the relocation of residential density, the petition also requests a three-year extension of the DRI from February 2009 to February 2012. A recent state law essentially makes this extension automatic.

Why is Ginn-LA proposing 1,147 more condo/hotel units? The economy and especially the luxury condo market are weak. Ginn's organization has been unraveling since the Credit Suisse loan default 10 months ago. Three major properties have been sold, two at bankruptcy sales. Company divisions have been eliminated and Ginn is gradually being replaced by outside companies to operate (and in some cases develop) the remaining company properties. It is suggested that the beachfront condo/hotel entitlements would greatly increase the present value of Ginn's Hammock property in the eyes of any potential purchaser, perhaps by more than $100 million. That's a pretty compelling reason.

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18 replies
  1. dan
    dan says:

    Honk if Booby owes you

    Giving anything to Ginn defies Kharma as he has stolen property owners dreams , 20 million of escrow member deposits , and basicly "borrowed" money from the Hedge fund funded Credit Suisse loan facility on several built out facilities and put it in his pocket and at that point owed more than property was worth and filed Bankruptcy , leaving developments without operating funds and in stress .

  2. Dean
    Dean says:

    Condo Hotel Plans

    Would this development completely block out the Ocean towers view? It looks like it from the map. Does anyone know how many floors the units would be?
    Great info Toby!!

  3. John Boy
    John Boy says:

    Hammock Dunes Land Use Change

    Why not save us all a bunch of agony and simply file for a Federal Bailout. Bobby needs help and the little people ought to kick in and give him a few Trillion dollars. I understand the people from Hilton Head are willing, how about all of his other successful developements?

  4. HGordon
    HGordon says:

    Plans impact the golf course?

    From the map, looks like the plan will squeeze in the housing units in what little vacant land there is between the golf course and clubhouse. Please tell me the Ginn-LA plan does not include building on the current golf course land itself. Will it end up being a 9-hole course??

  5. Michael Fisher
    Michael Fisher says:

    OH Residents w/ condo hotel

    I would think that all of the resident owners in the Hammock Dunes DRI have a vested interest (perhaps as much as 75%) in the 1,147 remaining vested units. It would make sense to me that all owners in the Hammock Dunes DRI are entitled to their fair share of any new units approved, if approved. This should be looked into, and if this is the case, could affect any decision that the Council makes. Sharing the interest in the remaining vested units would make this somewhat more palatable for the residents and property owners.

  6. sam johnson
    sam johnson says:

    lets forget the word ginn he gone or not…that should be your next job…your info has been spot on so far ,so lets find out if this crook is really out or not…all we keep hearing is he is gone from la…if so lets forget that name on your site forever

  7. Mike
    Mike says:

    Environmental Impact

    Wouldn’t a new project of this size require a Federal Impact Feasibility study since it would affect the ocean and existing ground water tables? Also with a planned discussion of incorporating the Hammock in the near future a project of this magnitude should require more imput from the Hammock itself and possibly a restaining order to see the outcome of the incorporation of The Hammock.

  8. Dan
    Dan says:

    Positive spin?


    Let’s say this goes through and some high end hotel chain purchases the resort and builds a hotel. What is the best case scenario for current property owners in terms of 1) the best development group 2) the placement and size of the structure. Are there any ancillary positives that could come from this?

  9. kevin
    kevin says:

    Reunion question

    Do you this requests is related to whether or not Noble and Reynolds proceed with a purchase of this resort and Reunion? Do you know if Reunion already has a similar zoning issue or is that resort ready for this size hotel?

  10. Geoerge Edward Chuddy
    Geoerge Edward Chuddy says:

    What exactly is an ‘Oceanfront Recreation Hotel’

    Hello Toby/Hammock Beachers:
    What exactly is an ‘Oceanfront Recreation Hotel’ – private/public/, chain , atypical size, components, parking, restrictions,classy or generic Restaurants/bar/dining room(s), atypical height /stories, dancing, etc?
    When will you/we get to see the exact proposals?
    If there are ‘shifts’, do the parcels/units that are shifted ‘from’ get like Llovera Drop Lots or what, if enough of the units that were taken from are like a street(s), like Country Club Cove, Cambridge Court and Cypress Court, what does that become then? If ’nuff of them are changed from indivudual units, can they all become condos’ or multi?

    Thank you.
    George Edward Chuddy

  11. William Lewis
    William Lewis says:

    golf membership

    In order to join Reunion, I had to purchase a refundable membership. Will the new manaagement group honor this commitment?

  12. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Michael

    Any development rights are vested with the developer. If they are approved, they will apply to property owned by the developer. The property in question is not common area, owned by the POA. The real question here is whether or not the requested change has to go back for a full review or is it a minor change. I think the Council will find that is is significant. Property owners in Ocean Hammock do not have any rights to share in further development of properthy owned by Ginn or a subsequent owner.

  13. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Dean

    Clearly any new condos along the ocean will block views. The petition does not give any site design information (number of buildings, size, location, etc.). Any plan would have to be submitted to the county for approval.

  14. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Mike

    The change request does not increase the proposed residential density. The developer only wants to shift the density within the boundries of the DRI. When the original DRI was approved, it went through all the proper vetting. The environment, traffic, schools, roads, safety issues etc. have already been addressed. It’s up to the County to determine if this change is significant enough to require a full review again.

  15. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Dan

    Noble probably has the inside track. They already are affiliated (ownership and/or management) with several hospitality brands. Among them are Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott International, Westin, and Starwood.

    Hopefully, they will be sensitive to the location and height of new buildings, but present owners do not have a sight easement. Probably the only low-rise development will be in front of the existing resort core. The rest will be multi-story.

    On the plus side, an additional 1,147 units will provide more resort traffic, which should help insure the long term viability of the club and amenities. To that extent, it will be good for existing property owners and club members.

  16. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to William

    Ginn-LA still owns the amenities. Reynolds is only managing. However, I think you should read my May 7 article on non-equity golf communities to understand the risks associated with their refundable deposits. This is not just a Ginn issue. It applies to all developer owned clubs with refundable deposits.

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