Reynolds Plantation may have a buyer

        At just an hour and a half, without traffic, from Atlanta, the beleaguered Reynolds Plantation was a magnet for that city’s business and professional people and their families before bad fiscal management and the recession sent the community into bankruptcy proceedings.

        Now, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a builder of high rises in Atlanta may have the inside track to inherit Reynolds.  The newspaper’s online arm is reporting that Daniel Corporation, based in

Reynolds and The Cliffs may emerge from bankruptcy at about the same time. The battle will be joined for well-to-do Atlantans.

Birmingham, AL, is in the late stages of negotiating with the trustee for Reynolds to purchase the community’s six Reynolds Plantation golf courses, marinas and undeveloped land surrounding Lack Oconee.  No financial details have been reported, and the parties to the negotiations have not been reached for comment.  But this is the hint of good news for the 3,600 Reynolds owners who rejected an offer from the Reynolds family to purchase the amenities for a dramatically overpriced $45 million last year.

        Daniel Corp. is not unfamiliar with golf community development.  The firm owns and manages Greystone, a well-regarded 2,300-acre Birmingham community with George Cobb and Rees Jones 18-hole layouts.  Greystone features 3,000 home sites, not inconsequential in size as golf communities go, but way smaller than Reynolds, which already has 3,600 owners and hundreds of acres of property remaining to be developed.  Daniel Corp. also is a partner in the community that surrounds Birmingham’s Ross Bridge, one of the highest-profile clubs along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

        A quick scan of properties for sale at Reynolds shows resale homes as low as $299,000 and home sites as low as $40,000, considerably below even the quoted cost of a full membership in the six clubs last year.  With The Cliffs Communities emerging from bankruptcy as well in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how these two competitors fight for an admittedly narrower market of wealthy Atlantans who may not feel quite as wealthy as they did in 2005.  Look for more aggressive pricing on memberships, lower prices for undeveloped home sites and even re-plotting of some areas of both golf communities to permit more density and more affordable homes.  The days of high-five- and six-figure golf memberships are over.


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