The nearly 800-acre North Carolina property was the intended site of a luxury housing community and a Woods-designed golf course under the umbrella of The Cliffs, the seven private luxury communities with courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, among others. Future development plans for the property in Swannonoa, N.C. remain unclear.
A nearly 800-acre Swannanoa, N.C. property that once was the intended site of a luxury housing community and a Tiger Woods-designed golf course has changed hands, but future development plans there remain unclear, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.
The property, located about 17 miles east of Asheville, was slated to be part of The Cliffs at High Carolina, a neighborhood project featuring about 1,000 luxury homes and what would have been the first U.S. golf course designed by Woods straddling parts of the Fairview and Swannanoa communities, the Citizen Times reported. It was sold in April by David Straus of Straus Family LLC for about $15.3 million.
Straus said a South Carolina-based group under the name New Fort LLC approached him to purchase the property a year ago, the Citizen Times reported. It had been on the market at least the past three years, listed for sale at $24 million in 2016.
“We didn’t really want the property anymore and there were a lot of expenses involved in it,” Straus told the Citizen Times on July 9. “At that point, the house we had on it we would use to vacation on it had been torn down to make way for the golf course. It really didn’t have the kind of value to us anymore that we wanted, so we had been trying to sell it for a number of years.”
Straus had financed a 2007 deal to develop the property under The Cliffs banner through a deed of trust, the Citizen Times reported. The Cliffs is a series of seven private luxury communities owned by Charlotte and Charleston, S.C.-based development company South Street Partners, which acquired them in March. C+RB reported on the sale at the time.
Straus later took back the deed after the project was hit hard by the collapse of the real estate market in the late 2000s, leading to sagging sales of the high-dollar homesites starting in price at $500,000, the Citizen Times reported.
A representative from The Cliffs said the company still owns some 1,900 acres adjacent to the former Straus site. The Cliffs Clubs Managing Partner David Sawyer told the Citizen Times last year the company does not have any plans to commit additional funding to the High Carolina project, instead directing its attention to its Walnut Cove property in Arden and two others in South Carolina.
Not much has been publicly shared about the buyer, New Fort, a limited liability company whose registered agent is listed as Greenwood, S.C., attorney Douglas L. Bell, the Citizen Times reported. Reached by e-mail this week, Bell said he had reached out to his client for comment.
Straus added that a New Fort representative said, “in essence, that he had no comment at this time.” He noted he signed a nondisclosure agreement with New Fort while in the negotiation process for the land, the Citizen Times reported.
It is also unclear what, if any, involvement the 15-time major winner Woods might have in future iterations of the property, the Citizen Times reported. The distinction of the first U.S.-based Woods-designed course now belongs to Bluejack National, a private course located within a housing community in Montgomery, Texas. It opened in April 2016 (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/major-aspirations/).
But Woods’ likeness was prominently featured in a past advertising campaign for High Carolina, similar to other Cliffs properties which have golf courses designed by prominent figures such as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, the Citizen Times reported. Representatives for Woods and his golf course design company, TGR Design, did not respond to requests for comment.
In 2007, Woods said he would be in Fairview “as much as I can” to see the golf course through to its completion, the Citizen Times reported. In the following years as the project took a downward turn, Woods’ career also took a hit as he battled injuries and a high-profile infidelity scandal.