The WPJ

Reserve at Lake Keowee Sees Rising Sales, Construction Activity

» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | October 28, 2011 1:13 PM ET



(SUNSET, SC) -- Residential developers across the country are seeking ways to engage their members and attract new ones in the midst of a challenging housing market. One Upstate South Carolina community, The Reserve at Lake Keowee, has found success in the market by implementing creative programs and incentives to drive interest and activity - and, so far, the results are noteworthy and encouraging.  The gated master-planned community, managed by Greenwood Communities and Resorts, is not only projected to achieve  balanced budgets on its club side and within the Property Owners Association for the first time ever this year, but the community is also seeing a steady stream of new home construction activity.

And transactions are already well ahead of its 2010 pace for closed sales.

"It is a very bright moment for The Reserve," stated Chuck Pigg, Vice President of Greenwood Communities and Resorts and Community Manager of The Reserve at Lake Keowee. "With regular media reports about a struggling economy and a real estate market that is slowly making a comeback, The Reserve is as strong and viable a community as ever."

Since January 2011, The Reserve has gained more than 660 new multi-generational members - extended family members of current Reserve Members - thanks to the launch of the club's new Legacy Membership Program. The Legacy Membership allows existing Reserve at Lake Keowee members to extend membership benefits and privileges to their adult children, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren without additional cost, confusing fine print, or complicated red tape. Through the coordinated Share the Legacy Program, members receive special incentives on available real estate and are rewarded through their referral of new club members.

The positive impact of all of these new members on the club's fiscal health has been swift and undeniable.

"The club has seen its largest participation ever," Pigg said. "Coupled with the strict fiscal discipline and accountability of our club manager, Frank Santoro, the club is projected to reach a balanced budget for the first time in its history, with no food and beverage minimums."

The explosion of The Reserve's membership base, coupled with new homes popping up everywhere within the community has created momentum on the sales side. Year to date, the community has welcomed 25 new families to The Reserve and, in the past couple of months alone, has sold or placed contracts for sale on nearly a dozen premium waterfront homesites on Lake Keowee. All this, before the onset of fall and perhaps the area's most compelling "sales tool" - the fall foliage - is an encouraging sign for what The Reserve hopes will be a landmark selling season.

"A viable and financially sound community is a must for our customers and is at the top of their vetting list when searching for their next primary or second home location," said director of sales Chuck Walsh. " Our sales executives are rapidly spreading the word that we are on firm, solid financial ground and therefore are able to mitigate buyer concerns that plague many, if not most, other communities. Evidence of a vibrant and healthy community abounds at The Reserve, and as we come into the fall, we have much to fuel a terrific selling season."



Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort Completes $20 Million Refurbishment

(SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA) -- The award-winning Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa on the Gold Coast of Australia reached a major milestone with the completion of its extensive $20 million refurbishment at an event attended by some of Queensland's Government, tourism and business leaders.

The resort was officially re-launched by the Minister for Tourism Jan Jarratt, Marriott International's Asia Pacific President and Managing Director, Simon Cooper, and  Director of EHP (Gold Coast) Pty Ltd, the owning company, Erhard Hotter.

"The fact that our partners EHP (Gold Coast) Pty Ltd have committed $20 million to the refurbishment of the property speaks volumes for their confidence in the Gold Coast brand," Cooper said. "Marriott International is a global company and has great commitment to this hotel and the future success of the Gold Coast."

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa first launched more than 19 years ago and is a tourism icon of the Gold Coast with an international reputation.

The luxurious 28 level resort features 329 rooms and is located on a serene riverfront site just a few minutes from the heart of Surfers Paradise. All rooms offer breathtaking views of the Gold Coast Hinterland, Surfers Paradise skyline or Pacific Ocean.

Hotter said the owners had a vision to take the Marriott to a new level of style and sophistication.

"The refurbishment works that have been undertaken are a strong vote of confidence in the Gold Coast, tourism in Australia and the property itself which is now right up at the top of the five star rankings nationally," he said.

The resort's General Manager Peter Brampton says the completion of the refurbishment had seen the hotel regain the mantle of the Gold Coast's most luxurious and unique hotel.

"The Marriott caused a sensation when it opened and our lagoon pool with its tropical fish has been a unique attraction that for almost two decades has drawn guests back to the resort time and again," he said.

"So significant is our lagoon pool and 'swim with the fish' experience that we have asked the minister to release the final fish stocks into the lagoon to signify the completion of our refurbishment."

The hotel's extensive makeover has included an upgrade to all guest rooms including the opulent Presidential Suite, lobby area, lagoon pool area, front entry, dedicated events floor and a new all-day dining interactive restaurant, Citrique.




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