Southworth Development acquires Abaco Club

Southworth Development acquired The Abaco Club on Winding Bay from Marriott Vacation Worldwide in an all cash deal earlier this month. The company purchased the 534-acre golf community in Great Abaco, The Bahamas in partnership with a consortium of the club’s members and homeowners, many of whom are professional golfers.

“The homeowners wanted to team up with a developer they felt shared their vision,” said David Southworth, president and CEO. “We structured a good old-fashion partnership. We threw in half the money and they threw in half the money.”

The sale price was not disclosed but the Massachusetts-based developer has plans for an immediate $20 million renovation, including adding a new state-of-the-art golf practice facility designed by golf architect Bob Cupp. Southworth said the company has “earmarked $30 million [for renovations] in year two and three.”

“There are some professional golfers that live here so we wanted to make a practice facility that would be all encompassing and suitable for people making a living playing golf and suitable for those who don’t,” Southworth said.

The Abaco Club on Winding Bay features two miles of beach and a 7,183 yard, 18-hole, par-72 tropical links golf course co-designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie and developed by the club’s founder Peter de Savary in 2004.

“It’s such a special piece of property with lots of elevation changes, which is unique for The Bahamas,” Southworth said. “Some of the course runs along the bay and the ocean.” 

Members first contacted Southworth about the sale two years ago. 

“I knew of it since its inception and I was intrigued by it and thought it was a community that would fit well with our other communities,” he said.

Southworth Development and its subsidiaries own and operate private clubs and residential communities throughout the world including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, Scotland and Puerto Rico.

Members have access to reciprocal play at other Southworth properties. Several types of memberships are available at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, with initiation fees ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Depending on membership type, annual dues range from $1,800 to $11,500.

“Renewed interest and long-term investment in the property will benefit Great Abaco and The Bahamas in the form of increased home building, tourism and jobs,” The Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christies said in a press release.

A Marriot affiliate acquired the property in 2008 and it was managed by The Ritz Carlton. This is the second former Ritz Carlton-managed community purchased by Southworth. In 2009, Southworth acquired Creighton Farms, a private club and community in Northern Virginia.

“We have found the perfect partner in Southworth,” Homeowner consortium spokesperson Michael McCormick said in a press release. “Their track record of investing in and developing world-class communities offers us a real sense of security that The Abaco Club on Winding Bay will become the pinnacle of barefoot luxury in The Bahamas.” 

The company’s subsidiary, Southworth Golf, is also currently working on the proposed PGA Golf Course and residential community on Cat Island, also in The Bahamas. 

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