Deeds and WeedsJanuary 21, 2009

Amelia Island Owner Sells 51 Percent Stake

Looks as though Amelia Island Plantation, located just north of Jacksonville, Fla., is getting financial help. According to this report, Dublin-based Redquartz Developments has reached an agreement to buy a 51 percent stake in the 1,350-acre resort -- which includes four golf courses, rental condominiums and the 249-room Amelia Inn & Beach Club Hotel, among other amenities -- from its longtime owners, the Cooper family. The price is reported to be $60 million.

Redquartz is the same company that bought the Marriott Sawgrass (Fla.) Resort and Spa a couple of years ago.

Having been a guest at Amelia Island Plantation more than a dozen times over the years, I'm excited about this deal. I went on my first post-college golf trip there in 1988, and returned with essentially the same group of eight guys every year until 1999. We loved AIP's Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Bobby Weed designed courses. But we grew tired of the aging rental units, and the fact that the only real restaurant to grab a meal between rounds could accommodate barely 30 diners at a time. (We returned in 2007 and found little had changed.)

What AIP needs is a little tender loving care. Sixty million bucks can buy plenty of that.

-- G.R.