Palm Coast’s Conservatory Golf Community to Announce New Home Prices

Lots will be marketed again at roughly the same prices as seven years ago, but this time the price will include a new home, revised architectural and landscaping requirements and new club memberships.

Conservatory Golf Course - Eighth hole island greenPalm Coast, FL – May 7, 2012 – Look for a new initiative to re-market The Conservatory golf community in Palm Coast, Florida. Front Door Communities and Luxury Team of Florida Real Estate Group have repositioned The Conservatory pricing with home prices in the $350,000 to $600,000 price range. The Renaissance (they prefer to avoid the term "sales launch") is expected to be unveiled in June.
Ginn Background
The Conservatory was originally envisioned by Bobby Ginn with multi-million dollar homes. The 340-lot master planned community features a Tom Watson signature golf course with a spectacular 38,834 square foot clubhouse. [site map] All the lots were sold within hours during a frenzied "priority selection event" at the height of the housing bubble nearly seven years ago.
Many investor/buyers counted on flipping their lots for a quick profit. Instead, they encountered a bursting real estate bubble and vanishing buyers. There was no one behind them waiting to pay an anticipated $50,000 more for their lot. The music had stopped and all the chairs were gone. Well over half the lots ended up in foreclosure. They are now selling for $10,000 to $25,000 each, less than 10% of their original price. Total assessed value of the 340 lots is $6.8 million compared to the $141 million paid by the original buyers.
Only four builder models, averaging over 4,100 square feet, and one private home were constructed. The gates, once guarded 7/24, remain wide open, saving the Property Owners Association (POA) $20,000 per month. The golf course remains open, but the expansive and luxurious dining area is closed except for special events.
Lot prices remain low because ownership involves risk. The property was over-envisioned by Ginn. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, "The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others."
In hindsight, The Conservatory should have been positioned at a lower price point. It’s a beautiful property, but it’s on the mainland side, not the barrier island side of the Intracoastal Waterway. There is no Intracoastal access. While it was marketed as a component of the Hammock Beach Club and Resort, it remains a 20 minute nine mile drive (including a $2 toll bridge) away from the club’s main oceanfront facility. Although not conceived as a family living community, it sits directly across the street from the Matanzas High School.
Repositioning a project once the infrastructure is complete and all the lots are sold is a daunting task. The amenity package, the architectural standards and landscaping requirements were geared to million dollar homes and those who can afford them. The monthly POA fee for developed lots was well in excess of $1,000. Club initiation fees and monthly dues were beyond the budget of typical owners of a $350,000 home.
Overhead costs for the golf course and opulent 38,834 square foot clubhouse are far above golf industry norms. The generous maintenance width (tee to green) of the course includes several man-made waterfalls and 140 sand and coquina bunkers; three are sod faced. As a stand-alone development, The Conservatory would have been doomed. Were it not for its integration into the Hammock Beach Club with its members and guests and the ongoing subsidies from developer Lubert-Adler, the golf course could not have survived.
Front Door and Luxury Team believe that current lot selling prices are no more representative of Conservatory’s intrinsic value than were the original selling prices; just as low now as they were once too high. They believe that lots, valued between $65,000 and $100,000, can be combined with quality homes for prices beginning at $350,000. They plan to focus on the $350,000 to $400,000 price point at their upcoming renaissance.
Un-ringing the bell
All 340 Conservatory lots were sold the first time around. How can a developer reassemble an inventory of lots from so many individual owners, many of whom had abandoned their properties? Attempts were made over the past few years to work through lenders who held virtually valueless mortgages. Not surprising, lenders are not good at thinking outside the box so that avenue was abandoned.
Meanwhile, lots had begun to sell through a combination of tax deed sales, short sales or lender-owned sales, albeit at rock bottom prices. Changing tactics, Front Door and Luxury Team went directly to lot owners. In exchange for letting Luxury Team market their vacant lots, owners are promised sale prices within the "intrinsic value" range when the house/lot package sells. The group has assembled more than 100 lots for their inventory initial.
Rooftops will appear
Under revised architectural rules, new homes may be smaller, less "over the top." But the look and feel of the new community will still be upscale. For instance copper gutters are no longer required, but a Tuscan theme with cement tile roofs will continue the emphasis on curb appeal. Landscaping standards have also been downsized to a more budget appropriate level.
Front Door and Luxury Team have interviewed several potential builders to be part of their new builder program. An announcement of their selection of a small handful of approved builders is expected soon. Hopes are to have multiple model homes available well in advance of the 2013 Parade of Homes.
POA Fees
The POA, not the developer, determines the community’s association fees or assessments. Those charges have been reduced from the originally published schedule by eliminating some services (telephone, cable). Quarterly assessments run between $420 and $668 for vacant lots, depending on lot size. Developed lots will be assessed an additional $588 per quarter for landscaping and lawn care. To reduce fees, phone and cable services have been unbundled and may be obtained separately.
The Club
The last piece required to complete the repositioned community narrative was accomplished when The Hammock Beach Club announced the Conservatory (only) Golf Membership. The new membership category will come in two forms; one for Conservatory owners and one for non-owners.
The owners’ version will be a permanent membership. New home buyers will receive a waiver of the $20,000 initiation fee as well as a waiver of the first two years of the $375/month dues. Membership will include use of the Conservatory golf course and clubhouse with its well-equipped fitness center, its Members’ Room and locker facilities. Also included are the use of eight hydro-grid clay tennis courts and boat slip rentals at Yacht Harbor Village as well as access to the members-only restaurants at the main resort.
Non property owners can purchase a recallable Conservatory Golf Membership for $3,000. The membership may be recalled after three years. It offers the same amenity access as the owners’ membership.
Timing is good for the announcement. Locally, home inventories are down while lot sales and new home starts are both on the rise. Builders are displaying a muted degree of optimism unseen for five years. The Conservatory’s new pricing places The Conservatory on a par with Grand Haven, another golf community which sports a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Sales in Grand Haven have become brisk in recent months.

16 replies
  1. Frank
    Frank says:

    Devaluing the Hammock Beach Club

    As an original full time golf member who paid $60,000, the Club and it’s group of cronies have now decided that people who can scrape up enough money to afford a $350,000 home can afford to pay initiations and $5-600 a month in dues and fees?

    Or just waive it at first as a candy cane?

    It’s an effective slap in the face to all full members.

    Sure, some naive builders will build models again and then will have to sell them at half price in two years again.

    Why would you buy and build through the Club realtors who ask for a percentage of cost rather than just buy a lot on your own and build it with your own builder?

    You can buy a lot for $12,000. Why pay intrinsic value of $65-100,000???

    Pay five times the market value to live across the street from a high school and 15 minutes from a Publix? Why?

    Owners and builders will end up sobbing while the realtors end up laughing.


  2. Sid
    Sid says:

    Still No Clue

    This go-around with Lubert Adler and his merry band of management still have NO clue.
    As the ole’ saying goes – screw me once, shame on YOU. Screw me twice, shame on me.
    If L/A had been paying attention to where their money was being thrown away the 1st time, why do they think it will be any different now?
    First hand knowledge and experience that FrontDoor LOVE not being nice to owners as their bread and butter is to L/A. Every move or decision they make is to their advantage, not of the owners/residents.

  3. Lex
    Lex says:

    Front Door

    Ginn, LA, Front Door, all ths same? without Bobby Ginn involved now?? Amazing how project was sold out, along with the others, Yacht Harbor, and still the developer has a foot hold??? Something wrong with that picture, sold out once, now again they have oppurtunity to cash in,"double dip". Why a need for select builders?? One reason, more money to the developer, AGAIN. Let the lot owners pick who they want, as long as they conform to ARB guidlines? Again, control moves by the devleoper to make more MONEY, off people who lost a small fortune. Sad, sad, sad.

  4. Pete
    Pete says:


    Again, the mention of "PICKING A SELECT FEW BUILDERS"?? Why? Simply to still control the marketplace, strategical tactics for the developer to make MORE MONEY! No outlay of cash, tell lot owners, "hold on, give us your lot, and we will give you back 60-100k?? House/lot package with a tile roof, 350k, including lot/permits/fees???? and the "SLECT BUILDER" still trying to make a profit????? Kidding me, or what. And yes, amazing how rules can be twisted, the beautiflu exlusive Club, everyone HAD to buy into, well now the developer says, GIVE memberships away, (for 2 years), another carrot, some people will bite, thinking, dont have to pay 20k, no dues for 2 years, free golf for 2 years, some will bite on that alone, but the people who have seen how this worked in the past, will not. Beautiful power lines above, right next to the High School, no water frontage??? Maybe when money was flowing like free cheese burgers, few years back, MAYBE?

  5. Nate
    Nate says:

    Stop The Madness!

    All LA is attempting to do is recoup the millions they lost for their big name investors.
    Promises….promises. Not one promise they have inflicted on owners/residents has taken place. Hopefully, people have wised up and know a scam when they see one.
    There is a former Ginn ( still owned by LA) in SC that remains without a club house after 7 years. The construction started 5+ years ago and now sits in disrepair and is a constant reminder of where and how LA chooses to put their money – NOT in 29016.
    The landscaping budget has been whittled down to nothing thus the common areas are not maintained. Ideas/objections/suggestions are not addressed by FrontDoor or the management company that is working for LA/FrontDoor. Numerous homes have gone into foreclosure and sold for practically nothing from their original asking price thanks to the VISION of Bobby Ginn. $1M+ homes sold for in the $200K’s and $300k’s.
    It once was a peaceful and well maintained neighborhood….eventhough it was in bankruptcy back in 2002.
    Beware out there! The crooks are attempting to do it again.

  6. Sean
    Sean says:

    Preferred Builders

    So, the hierarchy at Front Door and Luxury Hammock Realty decided that copying the Preferred Builder business plan that has failed the previous launch of the Conservatory and crushed Yscht Harbor Village for years is the plan of action?

    You are asking consumers who can only afford a $350,000 home to have to also eat an inflated clip to the developer of 5-8% like they always do?

    That seems quite logical.

    What a mess!

  7. Steve
    Steve says:

    Use Your Real Name

    Frank, Sid and Lex and all the rest are the same disgruntled builder posting under different names. He is a gangster texter known by many including the St.Johns court house. At least have the stones to post your real name.

  8. Mark
    Mark says:

    Stop The Whining!

    Hey Toby,

    When will all the whining stop? Everyone throughout the Country has been hammered by this real estate cycle. Values are down 30% to 70% everywhere, not just in Palm Coast or in ‘Ginn’ communities. It sucks that values have dropped that far, however, the lack of personal responsibility is sickening.

    All of the ‘Bobby Haters’ ought to take a long look in the mirror and hold that person responsible for their decisions. I cannot intelligently comment on other Developments, however, he delivered everything that he promised in Palm Coast. As a Full Golf Member, I thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle, along with hundreds of others, and it is what was promised. If you were an investor and not an end-user, you made a bad investment. It sucks, I empathize, but get over it and stop trying to blame others for your decisions. This is a growing problem with our Country.

    With regard to the Conservatory, it is a stunning community. The Golf Course and the ClubHouse are phenomenal. It is about time that someone addressed the issues that were preventing this community from moving forward. For the past 2 years, at many Member-Manager meetings, I have listened to the challenges and progress that the various groups have endured to finally arrive to a point of re-launching the community. As I understand it, there is no ‘Developer’ money or funding behind any of this, all of the various groups have come together, through sweat equity and pooling funds for incentives to get this off the ground. Although values of $65,000 to over $100,000 are not exciting as an original owner, they are reflective of true market values and a step in the right direction. If successful, my guess is that you will see values continue to rise because of the quality of the course and clubhouse. There is nothing even close to this within the area. In my opinion, the strategy is right on target, it started with developing an outstanding value for today’s consumer.

    Finally, to the ‘Haters’ that posted earlier. Stop the negativity and politics. This is an extremely positive initiative that will benefit everyone associated with the Conservatory, including owners, Members and the local economy. If you are not part of the solution, get out of the way and keep your negativity to yourself. We ought to be rooting for the various groups that pulled this together over the past 2 years, if successful, we all win. None of us can afford another false start.


  9. James
    James says:

    Lot Prices

    My two cents are why would you pay 65-100,000 for lots you can obtain for 12000 on your own?

    The effort is nice but the theory hurts consumers.

    Thank you.

  10. Pete
    Pete says:

    No whining just facts!

    Couldnt agree more, GINN DELIVERED 100%, all done. So I ask, why preferred builders in such a slow economy as we have??? Why shouldnt any lot owner, be able to pick his or her own contractor, WHO MUST get approvals thru an ARB, (architectural reveiw board), and conform to the guidlines???? Especially that the community was 100% sold out, and the developer TYPICALLY turns the community over to the HOA, so they can run their community? All fine if Front Door wants to build homes, but what makes them control the entire process. If they have their 100 or so lots, get on with it, but let others feel free to pick their own contractor, as long as they conform to design guide lines. They have lifted the rules and regs of Club membership, why cant they give people the choice of who they have construct their home?? You know why? MONEY MONEY MONEY, period!!

  11. Dan
    Dan says:

    A Positive Step

    I have to agree with the comments of Mark. As an original purchaser of a lot our experience with this development since release has been a disaster. I, like all of the purchasers, have their opinions as to why, but that is no longer relevant. What is relevant is moving on and salvaging what we can out of this property. I am greatly appreciative of the hard work of the HOA and all of the other participants in trying to realistically reposition this community so that it is attractive in today’s market. Changes to entry costs, fees and memberships are a good start. I have not been approached on my lot but appreciate that anything that results in rooftops going up will help all of the owners. As far as preferred builders I do not know if that will apply to owners who have lots and have not entered into a deal with this new developer. If the goal is to have some control over the quality of construction I have no opposition to the use of selected builders. I do suspect that any builder will still have to submit plans for approval by the ARB once houses start being build regardless if preferred or not.


  12. Bankslayer
    Bankslayer says:


    It is all about the Royalty Fees, the only reason they want to revitalize is to bring in the Royalty Fee, the question is the Builder Program it is no longer there and hasn’t been for 5 years so legally can they enforce this Royalty Fee and ‘Preferred Builder Program’ same in Bella Collina and Reunion, Front Door and Lubert Adler just want to get their grubby little hands on some more money before they leave. They have done so much harm since they have been in charge everyone just wants to see the back of them. Bobby Ginn created some of the Best Infra-structure that has ever been seen in both his Resorts and Communities, these Communities cannot fail they are just too good. Say what you like about Bobby, his Resorts and Communities are among the Best of the Best, What have Front Door and Lubert Adler given us-nothing but bad PR and deceit.

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