Ginn Foreclosure NOT Complete!

Update: The foreclosure did not occur, as both parties agreed it would be easier to simple transfer the land voluntarily. See later posts for updates.

The Nassau Guardian is reporting that the "intense three-year legal battle between the Ginn Development Company and a Credit Suisse-led consortium of lenders has finally come to an end."

Ginn agreed to the foreclosure of 1476 acres instead of paying more than $78 million in overdue payments ($61m in back payments, $16m in interest).

“The defendant does henceforth stand absolutely debarred and foreclosed of and from all right title interest and equity of redemption of in and to the said mortgaged property,” the Supreme Court ordered.

As previously reported, the Credit Suisse syndicate will now control the majority of the development, with Lubert Adler retaining the Core, North Shore Beach, and Old Bahama Bay.

Crave Real Estate has been retained by Adler to develop their property, and Replay Resorts are working with Credit Suisse.

With the foreclosure complete, the teams can move forward with a new vision for the development.

Builder Saia-Tate plans Weekend Getaway

Norman Saia and Steve Tate of Saia-Tate Homes plans to hold a weekend getaway this Father’s Day Weekend, June 17th-19th, at Old Bahama Bay.  The weekend includes accommodations at Old Bahama Bay, activities and the opportunity to meet with Saia-Tate to discuss lot owner options for construction. Tentative schedule of events:

June 17th (Friday) Arrival at Old Bahama Bay

Guests may fly direct to West End from Florida. Pick up service also available from Freeport International

Welcome reception at check-in table at Saia-Tate office, hand out weekend itinerary, meet the sponsors Evening reception for adults and movies for kids

Events for June 18th (Saturday)

Breakfast and tour Kids activities with parents Late afternoon games on the beach/ early evening barbecue at Beach Club

Events for June 19th (Sunday)

Champagne Brunch Departure for Airport

E-mail for additional details, special package pricing.

Credit Suisse hires Replay Resorts

Mark Wood from MLW Properties reported in his latest newsletter that Replay Resorts, a Canadian developer started by the people behind Intrawest and Whitler/Blackcomb Resort, will soon officially announce their plans to build and operate a resort on the property. Replay has worked as an adviser to Credit Suisse since the Ginn default occurred in 2009.

Replay and Credit Suisse would control about 75% of the developable land; Lubert Adler holds the remaining parcels including Old Bahama Bay, the core, and the north shore.

One obstacle that remains is that the foreclosure of the land has still not occurred.

Hopefully we will hear more from Replay before the summer!

House construction continues

I spent a long weekend at Old Bahama Bay with my family and took the opportunity to visit the development again. The slab was almost ready to be poured on the large double-lot house under construction. With infrastructure complete not much had changed elsewhere in the development since my visit last month. My builder Tommy Logan delivered the plans to the Architectural Board this week for approval, and will file for permits once approved.

Nandana - Ultra Luxury in West End

If you have visited West End and Old Bahama Bay recently, you have certainly seen the large detailed luxury oceanfront estate located across the canals. I recently learned that this estate, named "Nandana", is available for rent. Starting at $5,500 per night, it is a little pricier than a suite at Old Bahama Bay but definitely more spacious!

From their website:

"Nandana" (which means Paradise in the ancient tongue of Sanskrit) is a newly completed large luxury estate on a secluded beach near West End, Grand Bahama. Our luxurious and exceedingly private villa compound is a fully staffed, island home specifically created for intimate gatherings of up to ten family members or friends.

Nandana goes beyond the traditional villa vacation by providing guests with a wide range of luxury resort services, amenities and activities. These include gourmet cuisine, on-site masseuse, 120' infinity pool, Jacuzzi, Jet Skis, ATV's, 18-hole golf course, beach volleyball and more.

Designed by a renowned architectural firm in an Asian beach house style, the property is comprised of six separate buildings. A spectacular main house with soaring 40' ceilings is surrounded by five richly-appointed and free standing bedroom suites. The interior of the property has been constructed entirely of natural materials with massive amounts of imported Burmese teak covering the floors, walls and ceilings and natural stone forming most other surfaces. A professionally designed lighting system has been installed to emphasize the property's many distinctive architectural features.

Nice place!

Houses going up inside the development

Many lot owners (including myself) are considering building within the development, even before any of the new "core" plans are announced. While the hotel and water parks are not going to be in place anytime soon, West End and the existing Old Bahama Bay resort still provides for a "Caribbean" experience within a 20 minute flight from Florida.

The above double-lot ocean front house is currently under construction by Logan Construction Group (321) 432-1706 in the Beausoleil sub-section. When I visited in January the slab was almost ready to be poured, and will likely be the first house to be completed within the development.

Earlier this month I hired a draftsman through Logan, John Pilkey (863) 324-1193, to start drawing a beach front house for my family. It will be quite smaller than the above house -  30ft wide, two stories, about 3400 sq-ft living/4700 sq-ft total - but plenty of space for weekend getaways. We started with a base plan Logan provided, and by revision four had a finished draft. John charges $1,000 to get started (with unlimited revisions), and $4,000 to $4,500 at completion (ready for permit). Will post updates on the progress.

Ginn West End Foundation still active

The Ginn West End Foundation, set up by Ginn and funded by revenue from lot sales, is still active with charity projects on the island. Derek Gape recently presented a sponsorship check "to The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association, who along with the West End Police, Urban Renewal and team of volunteers will host a 12 week program from 9th April - 25th June in West End. Last year over 60 students were taught how to swim, fish, boatmanship, were educated in the field of ecology, participated in community clean up exercises and were taught to develop an entrepreneurial spirit where they can shape their future and that of their community."

Read More at Bahamas Weekly

Construction Update January 2011

For all the developer defaults and legal wranglings, over the last four years the construction team at West End has done a fantastic job turning the swampy remains of the abandoned Jack Tar resort into a solid foundation for future growth. If you haven't visited the place since the original sale events in 2006-2007, be prepared to see a lot of changes.

Wide and deep canals now cut through the property, and the lime rock removed has been crushed and compacted to raise the lots several feet above sea level. Underground utilities are in place (although not yet operational due to lack of usage). Miles and miles of concrete roads connects the subdivisions, with the main boulevard and guardhouse extensively landscaped. Solar powered lights lit up the streets at dusk. Three empty beach club buildings sit along the ocean. The golf course is 95% ready, and could likely be open for play within 90 days once the developer commits to finish it.

The land and canals highlighted in green above are the "infrastructure" complete areas, the red remains undeveloped. The completed areas were covered under the original escrow fund, while the remaining land was always planned for future development (no lots were sold in those areas).

There are a few deviations from the proposed Master Plan. The connector road and the bridge from Grand Boulevard to the Core (Sirene Avenue) is not installed yet, so all traffic to the Core has to go through Beausoleil. A movable bridge is likely to be installed to allow for larger boats within the Beausoleil canal. The golf cart bridges to and from the 18th hole are missing, and the golf cart bridge to the first hole is installed but not in use (the canal below the bridge isn't cut yet).

The first house within the Beausoleil started construction earlier this year. It is a double lot, 9000 sqft house built by Tommy Logan with the Logan Construction Group. More to come on this exciting development.

Of course, the "resort" aspect of the development is no-where near where most of us expected it to be by 2011. No hotel and restaurants, no marina docks, no new customs building and airport terminal, no water park, no golf clubhouse etc. Hopefully we will hear some plans about the resort aspects later this year.

However, if you are looking for a place where you can have a few miles of beach with crystal clear water for yourself, with an on-site airport 20 minutes from Florida, West End is a great choice.


Golf Course Update January 2011

The Golf Course at West End is in my opinion 95% done, with only minor touches remaining before the course could be ready for play. The fairways are vividly green against the blue ocean backdrop, but as you can see in the below pictures several holes needs additional landscaping for a finished look. Golf cart paths needs to be poured, and the bunkers need sand. The ground crew (which was out mowing the day I visited) has been successfully fighting off weeds, so brown are spots occasionally spotted on the fairways.

Lubert Adler has yet to announce when the course will open, but I will update you as soon as I hear.

Click here for a wide panorama of the whole course. The numbers on the aerial photos shows the green location for each hole.


How many lots were sold at Ginn sur Mer?

According to a lot owner list that we have seen, about 220 out of 496 available lots (44%) were sold by Ginn from 2006 through 2008. You can see the break down and location of the sold lots in the info graphic above. [Update - 194 lots appears to be the final number of lots that closed].

This matches statements Ginn officials recently made publically. In a declaration prepared for the inflated appraisals lawsuit, William McCracken stated that “there were approximately 215 undeveloped lots sold .... approximately 50% were cash buyers, and the others were financed.”

Project manager Derek Gape recently told the Nassau Guardian "that the $20 million per year spent on promotions at the onset of the project were worth it, bringing in $175 million in sales for the 194 properties."

Why does our $175m investor group not have a seat at the table?

Credit Suisse will after a two and half year delay soon foreclose on the mortgaged parts of the property (mostly the 300 unsold lots). Lubert Adler controls the other half - the core, Old Bahama Bay, golf course etc. What happens after the foreclosure is still uncertain. Who represents us, the lot owners that collectively invested some $175m into the development (220 lots sold at an average of $795k each), when these decisions get made? Should we try to have a seat at the table?

Original Ginn sur Mer artwork

In research for an upcoming article, I was going through my stack of closing documents (including the Property Owners Association and the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) and came across a CD with the below artwork. Putting the mess with the questionable ethics and financing scandals aside, Ginn sur Mer sure would have made a grand resort. [flickr]set:72157625738606321[/flickr]

The core value proposition of the property is still there - no other development in the Caribbean has a 7500ft runway, extensive canal system, space for multiple golf courses, and miles of beach front frontage. Let's hope Credit Suisse and Adler, after dragging their feet for more than two years, can get their act together.

What is going on at Ginn Sur Mer?

I purchased a lot in Ginn Sur Mer (Lot 224) in early 2007, and since then communications from Ginn Co. has pretty much been non-existent. It has been a fairly frustrating experience trying to determine the status of the development, and I am assuming that other lot owners are in the same boat. This blog was created to be a resource for lot owners where share information effectively. There are a lot of questions that need answers, see the Big Questions section for a running summary.

Feel free to join our Lot Owners Directory, so we can start getting to know each other. If you have not been out the island for a while, view the photo galleries in the Construction Updates section.

I am going to work the phones, solicit information from you, and perform on-site visits to try to get them answered.

No water & power, architectual board unresponsive?

In a letter mailed to owners last year, Ginn claimed the lots were ready to be built on. But according to a builder we spoke with this week, the water plant is currently inactive and power has not been connected at the head-end. It is somewhat understandable that they can't have the water plant up and running with no residences on site, but it becomes a bit of a catch-22.

We also heard that the architectural board is slow in approving requests for docks construction, because they are required to provide power to the site once construction starts. With Ginn gone, who makes up the architectural board today?

We will look into these claims on our next onsite visit.

Update: Power is not yet available at the lots, due to a "head-end" connection issue. However, according to representatives for the developer this will shortly be completed. Water is available from the same source that Old Bahama Bay uses, but not from the development's plant. The sewage is installed but not operational (lack of houses), so septic tanks are required for now. Tommy Logan told me that the Architectural Board signed off on the house he is building within two weeks of sending the application in.

Ginn is out, Replay Resorts knocking on the door

Lubert Adler (the money behind Ginn) has severed its relationship with Ginn, and is working with Credit Suisse to bring in a new developer to take the development from the current base infrastructure level to an actual resort. Lubert Adler likely controls the resort core, golf course, and land surrounding Old Bahama Bay, while Credit Suisse controls the unsold solds, so they have to work together.

Re:Play, a Vancouver based company that focuses "on the planning, design, and operation of destination resorts, resorts villages and urban villages" is rumored to be the leading contender, and may take over the development as early as this quarter.

Ginn out, Lubert-Adler takes over?

GoToby reported in December that "Bobby Ginn's 12-year business affiliation with his Philadelphia-based real estate investment partner Lubert-Adler is now winding down." "The last property to lose the Ginn name is Ginn sur Mer, Bobby's flagship $4.9B mega yacht - casino project which remains unfinished on Grand Bahama, though significant infrastructure has been completed. The future of the Credit Suisse portion of the development is uncertain at this time. However there is significant unencumbered real estate including Old Bahama Bay, which is operational."