Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Owner of Exclusive Sarasota Golf Course Has Big Surprises in Store for Members

When somebody uses the new buzzword phrase "shovel ready" to describe a project, mining executive Bruce Cassidy, Sr., takes them at their word. Literally.

Cassidy, chief executive of Excel Mining Systems, Inc., is also head of Excel Golf LLC, new owners of the prestigious Concession Golf Club in Manatee County. In a last-ditch effort to stave off being beaten to death with 7-irons at the hands of irate club members. developer Kevin Daves brought in Cassidy (and his money) to help finish the $15 million clubhouse, a signature feature of the luxury course.

Now, Daves has ceded control of the golf course, the clubhouse and membership sales to Cassidy and Excel. Good thing, too, because Daves was only able to sell 100 of the planned 300 club memberships to date. At $125,000 a pop, those 200 unsold memberships were to bring in $25 million to pay for amenities at the course--everything from the clubhouse to the grass.

Rumors that the Legacy Golf Club would be seized by its lender drove the Concession's members to demand that Daves do something to save their club from foreclosure, citing rosy promises from the developer/promoter who told them three years ago that "Now is the time to buy property in Sarasota. Real estate is a sure thing in this area and values will only continue to skyrocket....."

Daves, sensing his imminent doom, brought in Cassidy and Excel to rescue the golf course development. And his own skin.

Cassidy, however, apparently does not share the luxury golf course vision shared by the 100 club members and those with estate-sized mansions that have been built or are to be built around the course. Cassidy, himself, is wrapping up construction on a 23,000-square foot "captain's cottage" for his family at the Concession.

"Look," said Cassidy gruffly, "I know mining. I made my money in mining. You know how much money I made in golf--NADA! I suck at golf, but I'm good at mining; so it's only logical for me to do what I do best here at the Concession. That being said, when this deal is finalized, the back nine are going to be shut down and we're goin' in there with drag lines, dozers, pans and every other piece of earth-moving equipment larger than a shovel I can get my hands on. The dirts gonna be flyin' around that place."

"And when we're done there, we'll shut down the front nine and do the same. Hell, I don't care if the only golf ever played at the Concession ends up being Putt-Putt. My grandkids like Putt-Putt. Then, it's on to the 400 acres still owned by Daves. Wachovia is foreclosing on them anyway."

"This is the view I want to see out of the window of my 23,000 sq. ft. house. I love the smell of diesel fumes and burning vegetation in the morning. It reminds me of----money!" Bruce Cassidy, Excel Golf

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