Homeowners face tough choice

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune


Published July 5, 2010

SAN ANTONIO - Starwood representative David Ivin carefully laid out all the complexities and reasons why homeowners of Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club should buy their golf course and clubhouse, at a meeting Tuesday morning. Then he issued a warning.

If the homeowners association doesn't approve the $3.75 million deal, things will get ugly.

"There will be problems," Ivin said. "The bank is foreclosing on this property. I don't know what their track record is with running golf clubs, but I've seen plenty of houses that are bank owned and what kind of condition they're in."

Starwood Land Ventures inherited the golf and clubhouse problems when it bought more than 300 undeveloped lots in a bankruptcy auction in February. The company also inherited a slew of legal problems, including nearly 400 homeowners who never belonged to the master association.

"We've been dealing with this around the clock," Ivin said. "This has been a major factor."

Most of them had paid their dues for years and had no idea their membership was in question. Ivin said 181 homeowners have since joined the association and will have full voting rights July

David Ivin addresses a community meeting in the clubhouse at Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club Tuesday

16, when the clubhouse purchase is on the ballot.

The membership questions and high delinquency rate made it impossible for the association to get a bank loan, so Starwood became "the lender of last resort," Ivin said.

The developer agreed to lend the association $3.75 million to cover the golf club purchase and closing costs. The terms - a three-year, interest-only loan at 9.5 percent - raised some eyebrows, however.

"We feel confident that the association will be able to refinance in the next couple of years," Ivin said. "If we can't get the financing, our worst-case scenario is that we have to do a special assessment to pay off the loan. That would come to about $3,000 per home."

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