April 17, 2014

Bargain Buying: 'Hellacious Deals'

Mike Vogel | 7/1/2009
Tesoro
Glenn Straub bought the luxury golf community Tesoro for just a fraction of its $180-million development cost.

This is Glenn Straub’s kind of economy. In 16 years in Florida, the West Virginia industrialist has built a sometimes-contentious second career buying underperforming and distressed assets. His southeast Florida picks include Wellington’s Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, where Prince Charles once played, and the white elephant Miami Arena, which Straub tore down.

In his latest move, he bought Ginn Co.’s Tesoro, a luxury golf community project in Port St. Lucie, from bankruptcy court. The project will complement his nearby Martin Downs Country Club in Martin County. Straub paid nearly $11 million and assumed liabilities — a fraction of the $180-million development cost — for Tesoro and its commercial acreage, 353 residential lots, clubhouse and two golf courses. The average home price under Ginn was above $2 million. “Head and shoulders” above the rest of the market in luxury, says Brad Hunter, chief economist for housing data firm Metrostudy in West Palm Beach. “Tesoro stands out in a big way in that market.” It’s not a standout in sales. It hasn’t had a closing since the third quarter of last year, according to Metrostudy.

Glenn Straub
Glenn Straub
Straub plans an equestrian show facility between Tesoro and Martin Downs to create a satellite to Wellington’s world-class equestrian scene.

No stranger to the courthouse, as litigant or as buyer at auctions, Straub brims with ideas for his properties, whether the Miami Arena site or gambling boats he’s bought. He looks forward to his grown daughters joining his business so he can do more sport fishing.

“This is a good time for us,” says Straub, 60. “We’re getting some hellacious deals now.”

Tags: Southeast, Housing/Construction

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