In the three years since the September 2017 hurricanes, the Mahogany Run Golf Course has deteriorated from a premiere tourist draw and local hub into what some nearby residents describe as a derelict property. Meanwhile, they say, they are in the dark about its potential future and are not even clear about who now owns it.
The golf course has been on the market since August 2018. When it was listed, it was part of a large package that included property associated with the proposed Mandahl hotel development, which failed to get the green light.
While interest in the development of land may be limited, there is keen concern about the golf course.
“It was a beautiful property,” said Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, who said he would like to see the golf course open again.
“It’s very important to our tourism product,” he said, especially to group packages, or the so-called meetings and incentives type of travelers.
It is fortunate that St. Croix can offer golf, Boschulte said, but the lack of an 18-hole course on St. Thomas can be a big drawback for the territory.
“It potentially eliminates us from consideration” by some companies planning group travel packages, he said.
For owners and residents at Mahogany Run condominiums, which overlook the golf course, the issue is more personal. The condos were developed in conjunction with the golf course in the early 1980s, although they operate separately from it.
For decades, their proximity to a course, that drew famous players such as Tiger Woods and former president Bill Clinton, was a point of pride and a potential boost to selling prices.
Today, what was a celebrated golf course is “an eyesore,” said Andrew Capdeville, vice president of the Mahogany Run Condominium Association. “It’s all overgrown with brush. Whoever gets it is going to have to start from ground zero.”
Capdeville said the community is concerned and frustrated.
“We are not getting any information,” he said.
Angela Callwood, the condo association’s executive director, said as far as she can tell, “Nothing is happening.” Meanwhile, “It’s also bringing down people’s property values.”
The original package listed for sale included about 130 acres for the golf course, 87 contiguous acres above the course, 20 acres in Tutu Bay and a number of buildings and improvements including a former restaurant, convention center, offices and pro shop, a sewage treatment plant and a reverse osmosis plant.
Reportedly, the asking price was $40 million originally.
In July 2019, realtor April Newland, who had the listing, told the Source that she was suggesting the seller consider bifurcating the listing to offer a tighter package that would include the golf course itself, the reverse osmosis plant, the clubhouse and convention center and what had been a restaurant.
The Source could not determine whether the seller took that advice.
Newland responded to a call Friday with a text, saying she “cannot discuss anything at this time.”
She did confirm that the seller is an entity called ABC Land Company.
The owner’s identity has been the subject of some controversy.
In July 2019, St. Thomas attorney George Dudley wrote to the Source to correct what he said was an error in a story naming the golf course owner. He said he wrote the letter at the request of his former client.
“When I represented the owner that intended to improve the golf course as part of a master plan of development, which included both the golf course and land located in Mandahl Bay, the owner of the golf course was Dun-Run Golf, LLC, a subsidiary of a publicly-traded company, Transcontinental Realty Investors, Inc. [TCI],” Dudley wrote at that time.
After the storms, Dun-Run continued to maintain the golf course for several months, he said. “However, because TCI has no experience or expertise in the development of golf courses it was not prepared to repair and redevelop Mahogany Run, and on March 31, 2018, the golf course was sold to ABC Land Company.”
In a subsequent interview, he said the sale was not publicized and that it was done through a stock transfer. He said he knows nothing about ABC Land Company, but there is no connection between it and Transcontinental Realty Investors, Inc.
The Source has been unable to find any information on ABC Land Company. It does not appear as a company registered locally with the Corporations and Trademark Division of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and an online search reveals companies with similar names in other areas, but none for ABC Land Company.
Meanwhile, it is apparently still using the old name of the golf course owner.
“We have it [the owner] as Dun-Run,” Callwood said Wednesday. The condo association has regular business with the golf course. It buys sewage treatment services from the company and sells its security services. It also attempts to coordinate on shared interests, such as the repair of private roads that service both the golf course and the condos, she said.
“They still operate the sewage treatment plant, and the checks [for service] are made to Dun-Run,” Callwood said. “They write checks to us, too, for security services.” Those are drawn on Dun-Run, doing business as Mahogany Run Golf Course, she said.
While the V.I. government is concerned about the golf course, there may be little it can do to promote its reopening.
Boschulte said “there have been some discussions” involving Government House, and “I see Tourism being involved at some point.”
However, given the territory’s financial struggles, “I just don’t see the government being that buyer,” he said. “I think it would be a big reach right now.”