Buyers hope to finish developing Quail West

Buyers hope to finish developing Quail West

— The cloud of bankruptcy is gone.

Parts of Quail West once entangled in a bankruptcy case have been sold, bringing in a new developer to finish the high-end North Naples community.

QW 2009 LLC has purchased assets once owned by affiliates of financially troubled developer Ginn Cos. in Quail West.

The multimillion-dollar sale — approved by a bankruptcy judge earlier this week — includes 262 undeveloped home sites, two golf courses, a clubhouse and a sales center.

An auction was held Wednesday in West Palm Beach as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Ginn-LA, affiliates of Ginn, based in Celebration in Central Florida, filed for bankruptcy in December after defaulting on $675 million in debt owed on four communities, including Quail West and Tesoro in Port St. Lucie on Florida’s east coast. The other two communities are Gin sur Mer in Grand Bahama Island and Laurelmor in Boone, N.C.

The LA in Ginn-LA stands for Lubert-Adler, a financial partner of Ginn’s, based in Philadelphia.

QW 2009 was the high bidder for Quail West at the court auction, which took less than 25 minutes.

The buyer is a local partnership between John McGarvey and Dan Gerner, principals of McGarvey Development in Fort Myers, and Alan Freeman, a long-time developer in Southwest Florida.

“What this shows is that we believe in Southwest Florida — in the high-end golf communities,” McGarvey said.

Gerner and Freeman both live in Quail West.

“They believe in Quail West,” McGarvey said.

McGarvey’s company recently renovated the community’s clubhouse and has built about 30 homes in Quail West, located off Bonita Beach Road east of Interstate 75.

The partnership wouldn’t reveal the price it paid. Court records show the selling price as $13.5 million, with the next highest bid coming in at $13,450,000.

At one time, the trustee for the bankruptcy case had a contract with another interested buyer for $11 million.

The auction was a rare opportunity to purchase quality lots in the Naples area, which are getting harder to find, McGarvey said.

“A lot of the other communities are coming to their end and being sold out,” he said.

The partnership plans to continue allowing other builders to put up homes in the community. But final plans for the community are still in the works, Gerner said.

“We don’t intend on doing anything that is not right for the community and the area,” he said.

“This should end the uncertainty of Quail West,” Freeman said.

John Gamba, a board member for the Quail West Foundation, the community’s homeowners association, agrees. He expects the new owner to improve the community and strengthen its golf club, which hopes to grow its membership.

“When you think about it there isn’t too many people in Naples who would want to join our club when we had the cloud of bankruptcy hanging there,” Gamba said. “Now we have a new partner, a substantial partner, a partner with a great reputation.”

The sale should be final by the end of the month.

Despite the bankruptcy filing, Quail West has been humming along. Its two championship Arthur Hills golf courses have remained open. The resort-style clubhouse has been busy with activities, from bridge games and bocce to dinner dances and wine tastings.

QW 2009 was the homeowner association’s top choice for a buyer, though they had no say at the auction.

“They’ve been a very substantial investor in the community,” said Al Kessel, a Quail West Foundation board member. “They’ve had many models.”

The other bidder for Quail West was Naples-based builder London Bay Homes. The company was outbid by $50,000, court records show.

“I think the view from us, and from QW 2009, has got to be that as the market starts to pick up again, there will be a market for luxury lots in Naples over time,” said Mark Wilson, London Bay’s president.

Before the bankruptcy filing, the selling prices for lots was anywhere from $400,000 to $1.1 million, Wilson said. “There are 262 lots,” he said. “So it’s a substantial discount.”

Also up for sale in the bankruptcy case were six beach lots off Hickory Boulevard in Bonita Springs, where Ginn planned to one day put a beach club for Quail West residents. The trustee agreed to sell them to Jerry and Valerie Sauber, who own a home and other beach-front property nearby.

The land is being purchased under two trusts, said Kevin F. Jursinski, a Fort Myers real estate attorney, who represents the Saubers.

The selling price for the lots was $2.65 million, court records show.

“I think it was a fair price,” Jursinski said. “We were satisfied with it and so was the court and the trustee.”

The court also approved a $10.9 million sale of property and other assets in Tesoro in St. Lucie to West Coast Investors LLC — whose principals include Glenn Straub, the owner of the Palm Beach Polo Club.

That sale would include 353 lots, a golf course, a racquet club, a golf maintenance building, and 11.26 acres of commercially-zoned land.

But it’s unclear whether that deal will close.

West Coast Investors also had the original contract with the trustee to buy the lots and other amenities in Quail West for $11 million. At the auction, the company did not bid.

“Toby” Tobin, a Realtor in Palm Coast and a publisher of GoToby.com, who has followed the bankruptcy case, said he was told Straub withdrew both offers because he was upset at not being able to buy assets in both developments.

“I was told that Straub is now negotiating with the trustee to resolve the issue,” Tobin said.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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