There has been some criticism registered about the amount of money spent to get to a point where the community could vote on whether or not to purchase the golf course properties. Everyone in this community is familiar with the process of selling and buying real estate, so no lessons are required there. Let’s just stay with the facts.
The board did not make any overtures to acquire the properties, Torchlight offered to sell the golf course properties to us. We all know the history as to why. But even before the offer was received, we had formed a strategy team consisting of several owners and the County commission chairman, to discuss how to move forward. A survey of owners’ interest was agreed as the next step and so we began.
The first survey was organized internally, received a few hundred responses, and clearly indicated that the majority of respondents wanted BPCA to purchase the properties. Then came the offer to buy. We formed a three person negotiating team and started the process.
Early in the negotiations, we asked a local appraiser to evaluate the impact on our property values if a developer was to build on the Meadows course. The idea behind this action was to help solidify in the owners’ mind, the dollar impact if we do nothing and let development happen. It also gave us impetus to move forward on the negotiations. It was almost a mortgage appraisal in reverse.
The negotiations required our attorney involvement when Torchlight brought in their attorney. That complicated the discussions and increased the cost. We eventually came to an “Agreement of Terms”, approved by the board as well as the expenditures associated with reaching the agreement. In the meantime we had launched a professionally structured survey to ensure that we were asking the right questions about how the owners’ believed we should proceed. The survey went to 1376 homes, and received 685 responses, a statistically significant response. Two thirds of the respondents agreed we should buy both golf courses, 80% wanted the Meadows renovated, 71% wanted new community facilities. 87% of respondents were willing to pay an assessment between $65-$75 dollars per month. Those responses were instrumental in our future actions and decisions.
With that, we began the definition phase, whereby we generated renderings of how the new Meadows and the amenity center would appear. We generated a video to explain what was happening. We published data, FAQ, zoom meetings, and a host of other documents. In the meantime final negotiations drug on. The board approved the expenditures associated with the different phases of the process. Closing was scheduled and rescheduled. An agreement was finally reached late, and due diligence began. Like any real estate event, this is extremely crucial and necessary. We had a responsibility to ensure, that what we were proposing to buy, was in good condition, free of liens, and ready to operate. We tried to keep the costs low, used local resources as possible ( Steve Hord was paid to perform the inspection of Bar 72 and cart barn).
At the end, the assessment failed to pass, but not because we were unsure of what we were proposing to buy. The ground work and investigation that was done was significant. The responsibility of ensuring that the possible purchase of the properties was clean, legal, documented and safe, was fully met. The responsibility that the owners’ expected of the board, was accomplished. It cost money, yes. But had the owners’ accepted the purchase, we were ready to go, not then try to find out what we had just bought. That would have been too late and irresponsible.
In summary, the board had a concern about development on the Meadows which would devalue our property. The board offered a solution to that concern and took advantage of the opportunity presented to it. We negotiated in good faith and fulfilled our obligations to ensure integrity of the purchase. Everything received board approval all along the way. We followed the guidance of the owner surveys in choosing the path. Many can now express their displeasure of the project, that’s easy. But at least BP owners now understand the process, logic and motivation behind the actions taken. All of it was for the benefit of the community. No board member gained anything, or lost anything other than many, many hours of planning meetings, conference calls, and discussions with lots of interested parties.