Leisure Investment Properties Group Sells Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center

by / Wednesday, 15 October 2014 / Published in In the News

Sunset Beach, NC – The National Golf & Resort Properties Group of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has announced the sale of Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center, an award winning 54-hole championship golf course resort located in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, according to Steven Ekovich, Managing Director of the firm’s National Golf & Resort Properties Group based in Tampa, Florida.

Steve Ekovich, the lead agent on the asset sale, represented the seller, Sea Trail Corporation through a court ordered bankruptcy sale. In addition, Ekovich facilitated the buyer in the acquisition. Ekovich stated that “we have marketed this property for just over a year and after an exhaustive international search for the right buyer for this resort we found a buyer who is the right fit for the asset, but was not from the US. This property had a storied history in North Myrtle Beach and had fallen on hard times when the patriarch of the family, who developed the property passed away. The property languished after the market meltdown with no direction, vision or cap-ex. The three participating banks that took over the asset hired a restructuring officer to sell the property. He interned hired the National Golf & Resort Properties Group.

Ekovich noted that when he first went to see the property, he was awe struck by the sheer size of the asset. The asset encompassed 2000 acres, three golf courses, contained single family and condo properties, multiple clubhouses and activity centers, HOA facilities, a 48,000 square foot convention center and 190 acres of land. The second noticeable trait of Sea Trail was the condition. It was in bad need of cap-ex everywhere. When I went into one of the clubhouses, they had not one shred of merchandise, no shirts, balls, tees, nothing but empty clothing racks looking like a forlorn antlered deer who were frozen in time. If that wasn’t bad enough, the asset was located in the Bermuda Triangle of golf, where most buyers would not enter the market as they were afraid of the over -built Myrtle Beach market and where special management talent is needed to compete in a golf packaging market. No transactions for golf properties had traded since the Legions traded almost three years ago, and most industry pundits were saying, “no one will buy in Myrtle Beach”.

The survey took three months which included hundreds of attorney and title company hours to sort through title issues, encroachments, survey lines drawn incorrectly, easements, master declaration issues, drainage issues and the like. We went under contract the first time and the buyer lost his equity. We then convinced the bankruptcy court and the three secured creditors, the best way to protect the down side of the banks was to go through a “stalking horse” sale. The stalking horse sale is unique in the US bankruptcy code as it allows a secured creditor to protect their down side will retaining the upside according to Ekovich. “Very few brokers if any have experience in a stalking horse process. As an individual who has brokered and been involved in $3.5B of investment real estate transactions, I had been through the stalking horse process, consequently, I thought that process would net the banks the best net proceeds.  Ekovich explained that the auction sale resulted in an $8,500,000 purchase price, an additional $2.5M over the stalking horse bidder.  The auction was awarded to Wealth Springs Industry, LLC, a North Carolina company whose chairman Mr. Pan is a successful developer from China.”

Ekovich went on to say that “the marketing and sale process was a complex endeavor that could not have been successfully completed without the untiring effort of Matt Smith, with The Finley Group in Charlotte, NC, who served as the court appointed chief liquidation officer.  In addition, Greg Christovich and Bill Shiles, of Christovich & Associates in Oviedo, FL, did a tremendous job overseeing the day to day operations of the resort since the bankruptcy was first filed.”  Looking forward, Ekovich stated “I believe the buyer’s plans for Sea Trail will be good for the community, the employees of the resort, the homeowners and the condominium associations. All those with a vested interest in Sea Trail are excited about the buyer we brought to the resort and can’t wait until Sea Trail is once again transformed into a world class resort.

Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center, located just two miles from the Atlantic Ocean and only 15 minutes from the tourist mecca Myrtle Beach, is a 2,000-acre master planned resort community that is home to over 700 single-family and 600 multifamily residences.  Included in the sale is the community’s centerpiece 54-hole Golf Resort & Convention Center, comprised of three of the Grand Strand’s finest, award-winning golf courses, two full-service clubhouses with both fine and casual dining, tennis, fitness, swimming, over 48,000 sq.ft. of the area’s pre-eminent banquet and meeting space, 46 fully-developed retail lots and approximately 190 acres of developable land that is ideal for multifamily residential expansion, though hospitality development is an alternative.

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With more than 1,000 investment professionals in offices nationwide, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services is the largest firm specializing in commercial real estate investment services in the nation. Marcus & Millichap closed 6,149 transactions in 2012, the highest of any commercial real estate brokerage firm. Founded in 1971, the firm has perfected a powerful system for marketing properties that combines product specialization, local market expertise, the industry’s most comprehensive research, state-of-the-art technology and relationships with the largest pool of qualified investors nationally.



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