High stakes gamble: NC developer going all in

chutz·pah (noun) -- shameless audacity; impudence; brass

    In Texas Hold ‘em poker, the moment of desperation is reached when one player is down to a relatively few number of chips and goes "all in."  Sometimes the player has a good enough hand to win, he thinks, but most of the time circumstances force him to make a last, desperate attempt to stay in the game.
    In the mountains of North Carolina, Seven Falls Golf and River Club developer Keith Vinson is

The loans may be proof that big banks make small-minded decisions.  Like we needed more proof...

pushing all his chips onto the table by securing additional financing for Seven Falls while at the same time buying another golf community, Queen's Gap, an hour away in Rutherfordton.  Given the current economy and the paucity of buyers for vacation and retirement homes, this may be proof that big banks make small-minded decisions.  Like we needed more proof...
    The Seven Falls Arnold Palmer course was to open in December 2008 but an article at BlueRidgeNow.com on June 5 quoted Vinson saying he expected to complete the course in November and open it early in 2010.  According to BlueRidgeNow, which is the online presence of the Hendersonville (NC) Times-News, construction at Seven Falls was halted late last year as Vinson fought off lawsuits from contractors who claimed they had not been paid for some buildings they had completed.  Vinson is also contesting a suit by homeowners who claim his company took their money, stopped construction of their $895,000 townhouse and would not return their phone calls.  
     Infrastructure construction at Seven Falls started again in recent weeks as Vinson indicated he had secured additional financing to install sewer and water lines and to pave roads.
    "It's not through an investor," Vinson told BlueRidgeNow about the financing.  "It's through a very large national financing source."
    You have to wonder about those large national financing sources and what logic trees they have fallen out of.  At a time when his original community, Seven Falls, is in dicey shape, some bank (or banks) is lending Vinson $12 million to buy and build at the stalled Queen's Gap, including its Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.  The developer has indicated he plans to market Queen's Gap as a companion to Seven Falls.  For the sake of those who are sitting on lots and promises in both communities, we hope he is successful.

    Note:  I have toured and played the courses at Champion Hills and Kenmure, two communities within 15 minutes of Seven Falls.  All amenities are in at both communities and the courses are fine.  Champion Hills, which is Tom Fazio's home course (he grew up in Hendersonville) is particularly sleek and mature, and features all the markings of a Fazio course, including cloverleaf bunkers and funneled fairways.  If you would like an introduction to either community, please contact me.

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