A residential development that was part of the same company that owns Sea Island Resorts off southeastern Georgia's Atlantic coast, has been taken over by a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co.
Wachovia Bank (now part of Wells Fargo) took over the deed from the Sea Island Company for the Frederica development, a 3,000 acre residential community with home sites ranging from two to five acres, in mid-November. The loan for the property had been made by Wachovia, which merged with Wells Fargo in December, 2008. The transfer of the deed was a private transaction and not a foreclosure. The other assets owned by the Sea Island Co. are not impacted by the transaction.
"As the lender to the Frederica development, Wells Fargo has been working closely with the Sea Island Company to explore options for the property that would serve the needs of both parties and the community," says Wells Fargo spokesperson, Elise Wilkinson. "As a result, Sea Island has transferred ownership of Frederica, including the club property, to affiliates of Wachovia Bank, a Wells Fargo Company."
"We don't anticipate any changes in the short term," adds Wilkinson. "Ultimately, Wells Fargo will seek to sell the property to a new owner that is equipped to recognize the long-term potential of Frederica."
During the transition, the Sea Island Co. will continue to provide professional on-site management. "Wells Fargo will ensure the Frederica property is operated in a professional manner," says Wilkinson. "This is something that is very important to us." Wilkinson added that she doesn't anticipate any changes in the short term that would impact members or homeowners at Frederica.
The Frederica development is located on St. Simons Island and includes a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, deep water river frontage, a 400-acre fresh water lake, salt marsh and wooded views.Property sites currently on the market include a two acre undeveloped home site with expansive lake views for $1.7 million. A 5,600 square feet home (still under construction) on 2.4 acres with 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms is currently on the market for just under $5 million.
The Frederica development is a few miles from the world-renowned Cloisters resort, also owned by the Sea Island Co. The Cloister was the site selected by President George Bush to host the G-8 Summit of world leaders in 2004. Sea Island Resorts stretches along five miles of private beach and has served as an unrivaled Georgia luxury resort destination since 1928.
Sea Island Resorts consistently ranks high on lists of best spas, resorts and golf destinations published by such leading publications as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Mobil Five-Star. In addition to the Cloister at Sea Island, the development includes the Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club and the Sea Island Golf Club which has two 18-hole championship golf courses.
The Sea Island Co. has been owned by the Jones family since its inception in 1928. Alfred W. "Bill" Jones, III currently serves as its chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Jones is the fourth generation of his family to lead the company.
Merry Tipton, spokesperson for Sea Island Co., had no comment.
The Frederica development is the latest victim to troubled economic times. Earlier this month, Amelia Island Plantation, the 1,350-acre luxury enclave overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in northeast Florida filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.