Central Florida, December 16, 2009 — According to published reports, Westgate Resorts’ David Siegel has put the 1,273-acre Grenelefe Golf & Tennis Resort in Haines City on the market again. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services listed the Polk County property for sale on Dec. 11.
Siegel purchased the once-famous resort at auction in 2002 for $12.75 million. The purchase included 1,000 condominiums, an undeveloped 277 acres and a 3.57-acre marina site on Lake Marion. But it seems that Siegel shortly decided the purchase didn’t fit his portfolio, and he never did anything much with the property. By 2004, condo owners were already complaining about lack of maintenance and being kept in the dark about Westgate’s plans. Hurricane Charley hit the resort in 2004, causing damage to the conference center, tennis center and guest registration center that hasn’t yet been repaired.
In the spring of 2008 it was announced that Feltrim Developments USA was purchasing the property for $50 million. Feltrim laid out plans to buy the Grenelefe Golf & Tennis Resort and spend upward of $300 million restoring the property to the way it was in the 1980s glory years of hosting golf and tennis events. But then the economy tanked and Feltrim lost its financing. The company tried to entice Westgate to sell the resort in parcels to ease the financing challenge, but Westgate wasn’t interested and eventually the whole deal fell through.
At one time, Grenelefe had 50,000 square feet of meeting space, three championship golf courses and more than 750 rental units. Now the meeting space is unusable, only two golf courses are open and the units are only available for rent from individual owners.
It’s anticipated that Westgate will only be able to sell the resort for cash, since resort financing is hard to come by these days, and since savvy investors are holding on to their money it will be interesting to see who might come forward to rescue the historic resort. It’s unlikely that it will sell for anywhere near the $50 million offered by Feltrim.
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