Matanzas Woods, originally a golf community, located on the north end of Palm Coast has seen it’s own share of unique challenges over the last few years. The community is home to the Matanzas Golf Course that closed a few years ago after a failed venture to remodel the course. Recently the course was purchased as a part of a package which included the Cypress and Pine Courses, but the Matanzas Course has not been slated to re-open at this time with the group who made the purchase.
Recently buzz started to surface about another sale of the Matanzas Course and Jim Cullis of Grand Haven Properties notified residents about meeting with them to discuss future opportunities for the course itself and the community (click here to see Jim’s original letter to residents). Residents met with Jim on Wednesday and Thursday this past week to discuss what is taking place and what some possibilities are.
According to Mr. Cullis, he is involved with a group looking to purchase the course. They are currently in the exploratory phase of the contract. This meeting with the community to hear from them is a typical part of this phase when it comes to commercial development purchases. Mr. Cullis was also the past President of Landmar which had originally acquired and made the decision to close the Matanzas Course which provides him with a unique perspective and a commitment to try and “make things right” according to his letter.
Mr. Cullis spoke of the idea of possibly re-opening the course and by his estimates would take $4 to $6 million to do so. Not only are the initial costs of re-opening a drawback, it’s also looking at the future sustainability of the course remaining open long-term as golf continues to struggle and would be competing with 6 other local courses. Taking those items into account one idea Mr. Cullis presented was converting the land to a Regional Park with a variety of accessible activities such as walking/biking paths, kayaking, canoeing, and the possiblity of a 9-hole course and/or community center . He presented examples of other golf communities that suffered a similar fate and have done things similar. The addition of canals and lakes could also lend to improving drainage issues that have occurred in certain parts of the community after heavy rains.
Residents were very vocal and seemingly adamant about re-opening of the course as the only option at the Thursday evening meeting. The argument mostly focused on property value and a level of distrust of intentions. As a homeowner on the golf course in the Matanzas Woods community, I and my family understand first-hand the toll the situation with the course and the overall market conditions have taken on property values in recent years. At the same time, we see the idea of the regional park also as unique and positive possibility.
Property values are impacted by a great deal of things. What is known as “frontage” indicate special/unique desirable property situations, including things like golf course/park views, that do lend to increased value since the property is then typically in higher demand. The key element being “desirable”. Attitudes towards what is considered “desirable” is changing dramatically with many buyers and owners more focused on nature and close access to outdoor activities such as walking and biking paths coupled with great natural views. This puts the idea of a Regional Park in the community as a very unique opportunity as a possible solution for Matanzas Woods and the current situation. In my professional opinion this idea could lend a great deal to correcting home values as well as possibly increasing them substantially especially with the current market improvements taken into account as well.
Again, no sale has been completed on the property and no decisions made at this time. Any conversion of the property to a park would take the approval of the City of Palm Coast which would also hear from residents on that decision. Residents seemed to want to meet further on the matter to discuss.
Multiuse Path Coming to Matanzas Woods Parkway
On another note, the Palm Coast Observer reported in an article on November 13th that the City of Palm Coast has come to an agreement for a mutliuse path along Matanzas Woods Parkway (click here to read the article). According to the article, the path will stretch 1.8 miles and run from US1 to Bird of Paradise Drive and cost $750,000. The City Council is slated to formally vote on November 19th.