Ritz-Carlton

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by Smiling JOe, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    From another thread, I had a thought.
    I have heard no talk about this, even as a rumor, but someone brought it up and I would like you to consider the potential effects of such a thing built in SoWal. Even if you have not been to a Ritz-Carlton for afternoon Tea or a night of rest, I am sure that most of you are familiar with its world class service and appointments. When I first moved here, I remember one guy telling me that a Ritz was going in with a golf course and the works between 30-A and Hwy 98. (This happens to be State Forest land where he is talking about.) I have a feeling he heard something about the Ritz gas station/convenience stores in the area. When I heard this, I must say that I felt more comfortable about my decision to buy in this area. There is no such thing built at this time.

    Anyway, I ask you to picture a Ritz-Carlton hotel with the works located north of Hwy 98 in the heart of SoWal. Possible to visualize? Definitely. Can Ritz afford it? Sure. I ask you to ponder the effects on this community if Ritz-Carlton created such a thing. Today, I still think of SoWal mostly as an undiscovered treasure, even though more homes are completed by the hour. If a world-renown establishment, such as the Ritz came here, how undiscovered do you think we would be? The potential effects of such a thing would be unbelievable, in my opinion.

    From you, I would enjoy reading what you think would happen to the area if Ritz-Carlton created a world-class hotel here in SoWal. I encourage you to explore all avenues from the effects on real estate to the effects of the community and our environment.

    Anyone?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2005
  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid picky

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    I'll bite on this one (since I made you think of it in a way :blink: ) I'm all about mixed emotions on this one since I am long familiar with the Ritz. For many, many years my sister's brother-in-law was the evening manager for the Ritz in Boston and we'd often go there. In my top 5 of "Best Meals I've Ever Eaten in My Life" the Ritz is No. 1, and that was for a meal eaten more than 20 years ago (yes, it was that good).

    What I know about the Ritz is that it's synonomous with world-class service, which is something everyone knows, but also that they don't have a world-class supercilious attitude to go with it. I like the Ritz in Boston, and I also like the one in Naples (the old one), nearby where my parents live. Two very different Ritzes in very different settings, but both of them make me feel comfortable. This matters a lot to me because there's something about attitude that gets my hackles up! I don't like places that are nice to people only when they have "the look." I don't have the time of day for that. So for that reason, having a Ritz hotel on the Panhandle would be wonderful. They are experts in the hospitality business, IMO, and they'd be an asset to the beach. And honestly, I don't think Ritz prices are any more expensive than what the Inn over a Watercolor charges!

    But on the other side of the coin...30-A is already so gentrified. Everything, even loveable scruffy Grayton Beach, is getting gentrified. Having a Ritz would super-accelerate that. That's the downside of introducing such a distinct name like theirs to the mix.
     
  3. WaltonUndercurrent

    WaltonUndercurrent Beach Lover

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    I think it would be a good thing. South Walton really changed several years ago. I've run into a lot of people who've only been coming here since the early nineties, and don't really know the way things "used to be." The irony is that most of these people are mourning the loss of what was artificially created in the last ten years by the very developers that their blaming for having changed things - the idea that this is a small, family oriented community with cute shops where everybody knows each other, wears big sun hats with yello ribbons and chats with their neighbors across their white picket fences over rasberry sun tea, etc. The way things "used to be" is actually more like indestructable cinder block homes, no decent restaurants, no grocery stores, no bicycle paths, no sushi, no wine bars, no outdoor concerts, no art fairs, no crushed shell paths, no sea kayaks, few bicycles, lots of pickups, beer and tabletop hibachis. I think what's done is done and has been for a while - and I do miss the way things really used to be.

    So, I think a Ritz would be good. And a big announcement along those lines would probably jump start the real estate and local economy after a slow down. We need some exciting news that actually turns out to be true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2005
  4. Robert

    Robert Beach Comber

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  5. hutch

    hutch Beach Lover

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    Rumor is Chris Ruth Steak House is going in at Howard's Group Grand BLVB.
    Maybe just a rumor!
     
  6. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    I couldn't see them coming in unless ther were direct gulf front. Their image is based on being best of the best, and if they don't have their own beach, they wouldn't be.

    Are there any big parcels that would be direct gulf front and big enough left for their kind of project?
     
  7. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

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    When they built the Watercolor Inn, I had been told by Watercolor folks that they had been in discussions with Ritz to run that hotel, but it didn't pan out. Who knows..

    I personally think the concept would be great for the area.
     
  8. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

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  9. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Ruth's Chris Steak House is something I could handle over there. By the way, for those of you who haven't been around in the last month and a half, The Howard Group has cleared all of the land west of the Publix in Sandestin, and it looks like they are ready to begin some more building. The new hotels are still working toward completion. That area of Sandestin keeps getting closer. Has anyone heard any other names of businesses slated for the Howard Group's property in Sandestin?
     
  10. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    If you have not been to Reynolds Plantation, you should. They put that club, along with several others in the middle of nowhere. It just happens to be Lake-front on Lake Oconee. That place went boom over night. When Ritz came in to run the new hotel, it continued to go crazy. Ritz worked together with a private country club, Reynolds Plantation to pull off one amazing place. All it really takes is one world renown establishment to come in and the place will go crazy overnight, even at today's prices, you will not find anything for sale.
     
  11. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    On a related note:

    I remember there was a plan to put an Albertson's anchored shopping center at the west corner where 30-A and US 98, but I can't remember if that deal fell through because Albertson's was scaling back or if it was a zoning problem on the Walton County side.

    Anyone remember the details, and if that land parcel is still 'in play' for a larger development?
     
  12. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I don't recall the details, but Albertson's pulled out shortly after Publix decided to go in up the street. I do not think zoning was an issue.


    I believe the last I heard was that a large apartment complex was slated to be built on the east part of that property.
     
  13. hutch

    hutch Beach Lover

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    Have not been to the Ritz-Carlton at Reynolds Plantation, but being from Athens(DAWG) town I almost bought a lot there on the Lake. Being close to Atlanta and Augusta was a good move by them. The Ritz-Carlton is always booked during the Masters Golf Tournament. Never liked Lake Oconee. Good fishing lake, but is hot hot during the summer and stays muddy

    Not sure if Ritz-Carlton would build in this area and have to compete with
    Hilton and the other hotels in Sandestin.


    Tommy Bahama Cafe is coming to new Sandestin area on 98.
    Resturants are going to have service people to make it. Hard labor market.
     
  14. pk305

    pk305 Beach Fanatic

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    Heard the Ruth's Chris CEO on MSNBC yesterday & he stated that they would not be re-opening three locations affected by Katrina (not sure if all were in New Orleans, but at least one was). Instead, they will open new locations elsewhere....didn't catch exactly where...but I think he might have mentioned Orlando....not totally sure on that part.
    Also, we've had the Tommy Bahama dining experience (Scottsdale) & it was certainly not worth even close to what we paid. At first it seemed fun but then it quickly seemed like a typical CHAIN and too plastic for us. The food was fair.
    Did have a great bottle of wine though....that's hard to mess up!!
    Speaking of food, we recently re-discovered Lake Place (THANKS to THIS SITE) and it was totally AWESOME!!! We are headed back this week and cannot wait to go there again!!
     
  15. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    I'm trying to understand a Tommy Bahama restaurant. Do you have to wear TB clothing? Do you look like an ass if you don't? Do they sell clothing too? Are the servers better dressed than the diners? Aye yi yi....
     
  16. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

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    I was thinking the same thing!!! I have seen that sign for years...didn't it say something like..."A Lifestyle Cafe"? What is that?
     
  17. Mermaid

    Mermaid picky

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    The devil in me would want to go in there dressed a la Lily Pulitzer style--you know, lime green linen trousers, hot pink top, etc...a psychedelic beacon in the face of all those tasteful beiges and moss greens. :D
     
  18. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

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    Don't forget your pearls and a sweet grandma for the afternoon teas, Mermaid. Someone mentioned that RC would require a beachfront location, which is probably correct. They could become an operator of an existing hotel, if there were enough rooms. RC usually requires a large number of rooms, on the order of 250 to 400 and that may not be possible in South Walton on the Gulf. About four years ago, these firms had South Walton in their sights, to the extent of some having concept plans drawn up by architects for pro formas. I was in the offices of a prominent CA planning firm and saw such a plan, which really surprised me. Frankly, I'm rather surprised that none of them have moved forward so far. But I know that the accessibility and labor base issues are key for them. It's about a lot more than just them having deep pockets. Specific criteria must be met if any plans are to move forward.

    Additionally, financing for new hotels is extremely flat and no upturn is in sight at this time. Financing is no longer to value; rather, it is for construction, which only pays about half the carrying costs. This means that the remainding half must come from private investors, thus the fractionalized ownership concept. Some smaller areas that do not want large hotels or chains have adopted "no timeshare" ordinances to prevent the hotels, because they know they can't be built without ownership sales to assist financing. Fractionalized ownership is a fancy term for timeshare, although "the boys" insist that the two are quite different. Same result. It's easier to sell a dog five times for $5 than to sell it once for $50. (That analogy applies more to timeshares than to 5-star properties, I concede.)

    As a native to the area, I hope these things don't happen, frankly. Even one five star resort would pretty much complete the gentrification. I mean, does anyone know of a community that has only ONE golf course? As a property owner (and I guess, a real estate investor by extension), it would be a very, very positive thing for property values and area recognition. Example: Coastal area homes in Dana Point (Orange County), CA tripled in price after Ritz Carlton opened their hotel there and it is miles away from either San Diego or L.A. Beautiful beach, though.

    I'm still going for the pickups, the oyster shell roads, the shrimp, and the boiled peanuts, myself. I look forward to becoming a "salt water woman" for several weeks out of every year, including reliving my childhood by walking the backstreets of Grayton in a pair of peeling flip-flops.
     
  19. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

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    Are you a chic cracker? JK...I know better!
     
  20. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    Awesome! The devil in me would be in jeans, t-shirt, and flops. I would make sure they were "nice" jeans though! But damn- I wish I had saved my Lilly- had tons in high school- I had the BEST golf skirt! And I don't play golf!
     

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