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Uncertain Future for The Cliffs at High Carolina

According to  recent article in the Asheville Citizen-Times , a Texas couple has made a deal to purchase most of the assets of the financially-troubled Cliffs Communities, which owns eight high-end residential golf course communities in Buncombe County and upstate South Carolina.  Among these communities is The Cliffs at High Carolina, a 3,000 acre development that straddles the high mountains between Swannanoa and Fairview.

High Carolina is by far the furthest from completion of all the Cliffs communities.  Swannanoa residents watched for several years as crews blasted and graded to create the “parkway” thatwould one day carry Cliffs’ residents up and over the Swannanoa Mountains to the Fairview side, where Tiger Woods was to build his first U.S. golf course.  But work largely came to a halt as the economy — along with Tiger’s personal life — took a turn for the worse. Although original plans for High Carolina called for up to 1,100 residential lots, less than 50 lots have been sold, and only two houses have been built.  Only about 25% of the rough grading of the golf course is complete, according to the AC-T article.

The AC-T reports that Steve and Penny Carlile, the Texas couple that plans to purchase many of the assets of The Cliffs Communities, will use their own personal capital to finance improvements to amenities (clubhouses, golf courses, etc.) at the various Cliffs developments.  In addition, Carlile Group will take over marketing of home lots.

 But High Carolina, because it is in such early stages of development, is in a different class from the other Cliffs properties.  Although the Carliles own a lot at High Carolina and plan to build a house there, they were not specific about the future of the development.  Steve Carlile is quoted as saying that “[i]t’s a remarkable property that needs a remarkable solution.”

 The first step in the Carliles purchase of Cliffs assets is a planned Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the Cliffs subsidiary that owns the amenities of the various Cliffs developments, including the golf courses and clubhouses.  The Carlile Group then plans to purchase the assets out of bankruptcy.  To read the full text of the February 10 AC-T article, click here.  To read the February 11 follow-up article, click here.

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