Article Courtesy of TCPalm
By George Andreassi
Published April 15, 2018
PORT ST. LUCIE — Several St. Lucie West homeowners questioned why the Services
District agreed to pay $1.1 million for the St. Lucie Trails Golf Course's
clubhouse complex and 15 acres when the entire 125-acre property recently sold
for $1.5 million.
"This just smells," said Joey Cueto, a homeowner in the Sanctuary neighborhood
in St. Lucie West. "It's ridiculous they're going to spend that kind of money on
a parcel of the golf course. I think they should reject it."
Debra Ramsperger, a homeowner in the Presidential Cove neighborhood, said, "It
shouldn't be happening, but it is. Here's an example of a poor choice with the
district overpaying, using ratepayer money for land they want."
District Manager and Utilities Director Dennis Pickle called the proposed
transaction "a fair deal."
The St. Lucie West Services District plans to develop stormwater drainage
facilities on the 15 acres to alleviate longstanding flooding issues, Pickle
said. The clubhouse would be used as a meeting place for homeowners and offices
for district employees.
"I have to believe at this point it would be a good deal, unless the appraisal
or the community tells us they don't feel like it's in the best interest of St.
Lucie West," Pickle said.
Two independent appraisals are being done on the clubhouse complex and 15 acres
to determine whether the sales price is reasonable, Pickle said.
The district board is to decide June 5 whether to sign a sales contract with CGI
St. Lucie LLC, Pickle said. If the deal is approved, the closing would be about
six months later.
The fate of the golf course, clubhouse and nearby pool and tennis facilities are
important to the St. Lucie West homeowners because they affect their property
More than 100 homeowners packed the district meeting room March 27 when the
board authorized Pickle and board Chairman Vincent D'Amico to negotiate for the
clubhouse complex and 15 acres.
CGI St. Lucie closed on its $1.5 million purchase of the golf course March 29,
county records show. A subsidiary, CGI Palm City, paid $2 million for the
Evergreen Club in October 2015.
Tom DeShazo, managing partner of both companies, said he's applying his
successful business model from the Evergreen Club to the St. Lucie Trails Golf
The strategy enables golfers to purchase membership plans based on how much they
play, DeShazo said. The cheapest rate is for 12 rounds per year and the most
expensive is for unlimited play.
He wants to spin off the 24,000-square-foot clubhouse and nearby pool and tennis
facilities because they cost too much to operate, DeShazo said. He plans to
build a new 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
overlooking a lake.
"We're always going to improve the golf course and make it the best it can be,"
D'Amico said he hopes DeShazo can sell the pool and tennis courts to St. Lucie
West's umbrella homeowners association to reduce the price of the deal. If the
pool and tennis courts remain in the deal, the district would try to spin them
off to the homeowners.
Teri Pinney, a homeowner in the Country Club Estates neighborhood, said she
believes the district should buy the clubhouse complex and 15 acres, but for a
"That looks like a sweet deal for CGI," Pinney said. "However, the district
needs the space. Hopefully, I'd like to think, the district could negotiate a
better bargain; $1.1 million seems a little much."