Bonita Bay Group sells flagship facility to members

March 17, 2010
By Jack Crittenden
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Bonita Bay Group, given up for dead just three months ago, sold its third club since December, and appears to finally be on solid financial footing. The Florida developer sold its flagship facility to members for a reported $12 million on March 18.

“A year ago this company was essentially dead,” said Joey Garon, president of New Leaf Management, the golf course management arm of the company. “But if you look at the balance sheet now, it is an unbelievable story. They are going to make it.”

Members had reach an agreement in december to acquire Bonita Bay Club assets for $12 million, with $11.5 million coming from members’ newly raised deposits and $500,000 from Bonita Bay Group for the exclusive right to market tee times at the two offsite Bonita East courses for three years.

On March 9, the deadline for members to sign up for the new club, the turnover committee reported “signups far exceeded expectations” with 1,213 golf members committed to the new club, along with 176 tennis, 180 fitness and 297 social members. The final negotiating point was to cap Bonita Bay Group’s deposit refund liability to $7 million for members who resigned or downgraded their membership in the wake of the company’s collapse.

Garon said Bonita Bay has reduced debt from $120 million to somewhere in the $30s. It has eliminated $200 million in membership liabilities and $20 million in community development district debt.

The Bonita Bay sale includes the three Hills-designed courses, the two offsite Fazio layouts, two clubhouses, three practices ranges, 18 tennis courts, and swim and fitness centers. Bonita Bay Group retained the exclusive right to market tee times at the two offsite Bonita East courses for three years.

“They don’t have enough members for five courses, and they have aging demographics,” Garon said. “The difference is that we will run these private courses as resort courses.”

Bonita Bay still hopes to sell the Club at Twin Eagles with its’ two golf courses - one co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II; and another by Gary Player. It has an agreement in principle with a third-party, but nothing in writing.

 

-Scott Kauffman contributed to this report 

 

 

 

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