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Friday, May 25, 2012

Justice for all at Wintergreen Resort

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        Jim Justice, who rescued the legendary Greenbrier Resort from bankruptcy three years ago and has since pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into its revitalization, including a new underground casino, has purchased the Wintergreen Resort, located an hour west of Charlottesville, VA.

         The timing could not be better for the thousands of property owners and club members at the ski and golf community that abuts the Blue Ridge Highway. Wintergreen, with one of the only viable ski areas within three hours of Washington, D.C., and two diverse and finely conditioned golf courses, nevertheless faced severe financial problems of its own earlier this year when Bank of America suddenly pulled the line of credit it had been making available to Wintergreen for a decade –- shortly after the resort had suffered through one of its warmest winters ever. To its credit, the Wintergreen homeowners association communicated the predicament quickly and clearly to the golf community’s residents and made the tough decisions to cut expenses significantly, including employment.

Wintergreenphotofromdeck

The views from many of the backyards at Wintergreen Resort, including this one from the deck of a condo, are just one of the many "amenities" in the ski and golf community. Photos by Larry Gavrich.

 

          “We intend to take this property to the next level and see tremendous opportunities as we work with the Wintergreen management and staff in developing new membership programs and vacation packages,” said Justice in a prepared release. “The Wintergreen facilities are spectacular and the entire Resort has a tremendous impact on the local and regional tourism industry." Justice’s organization also owns and operates The Glade Springs Resort in Tennessee.

          Wintergreen, in our opinion, has hid its light under a bushel for years, not uncommon for a golf community owned by its residents who sometimes do not appreciate the influence of marketing and branding and are not willing to invest in either. Wintergreen is not on the radar, for example, in the New England market where there are plenty of golfers who ski but two

Wintergreen is not as well known as it deserves to be. That should change under Greenbrier-style ownership.

distinct seasons. At Wintergreen, where the Rees Jones 27-hole course at the bottom of the mountain remains open all year, it is possible to ski and play golf on a single day in January. (The more scenic Ellis Maples designed Devil’s Knob course at the top of the mountain closes annually before Thanksgiving.) To an active baby boomer couple looking for one retirement location, Wintergreen checks almost all the boxes. As a large resort, it is loaded with amenities, including the skiing, snowboarding, and golf, as well as a tennis center with three indoor courts and 19 outdoor clay courts, a full-service spa with 13 treatment rooms, a fitness center, and multiple dining options. Other amenities include the customary swimming pools, a lake and 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space (in case you have a large family or business).

           Retirees and vacationers looking for a private community populated with a small circle of friends and country club services should look elsewhere. But for those who are looking for a reasonably priced vacation or retirement home in an active community within an easy day's drive of New York, Pittsburgh or even Chicago, Wintergreen is worth a look. And now with some Greenbrier pedigree and financial backing from big Jim Justice –- he’s 6 foot 7 inches – the community is on the map.

           Good for them.

           Editor's Note:  For a nice selection of properties for sale at Wintergreen across a range of prices and types, check out our other web site, GolfHomesListed.

WintergreenStoney1lake

One of the three nines on the Rees Jones layout opens with a few hazards, softened by a beautiful view from the elevated tee box. The views from the Devil's Knob course on top of the mountain are even more impressive.

Read 3335 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 11:29
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.

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