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Golf Great Jack Nicklaus Enters Orlando Vacation Home Market
By Scott Kauffman
Golf icon Jack Nicklaus and leading global golf course designer is now in the Orlando vacation home business.
The sport's all-time major champion confirmed Dec. 10 his family owns two luxury custom home sites at The Bear's Den Club being developed minutes from Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The newly announced private luxury vacation home development is part of Reunion Resort, which features three championship golf courses, including a Nicklaus Signature Design layout that opened in 2009.
The new Bear's Den Club is a gated enclave of homes that founder Jim Bagley is platting around the newly redesigned 17th and 18th-holes of Nicklaus' Tradition Course. The new development, limited to just 52 three-story, 8- to 10-bedroom mansions, was officially unveiled at a private event hosted by Bagley's team at the Ritz-Carlton Resort, Grande Lakes in Orlando.
Nicklaus, who was at the Ritz-Carlton participating in the annual nationally televised PNC Father/Son Challenge with his son, Jack Nicklaus II, appeared with his wife, Barbara, and son, Jack, along with an estimated 50-70 other guests, investors and members of the press.
Nicklaus and his design company have been involved in 410 golf course design projects around the globe with Nicklaus doing approximately 300 Nicklaus Signature courses himself. The Bear's Den Club is the first of its kind for Nicklaus Companies, which is based in North Palm Beach, Fla.
"We've never done this before," Nicklaus said during the event. "A project for totally rental situations. I think it takes a pretty unique area to be able to do that. I've been trying to think of another area in the United States that probably could do this and I haven't found one yet. Your proximity to Disney; the year-round resort aspect of what it is. ... It's totally unique. You can have a lot of places that'll have six months but I think you have a 12-month situation (in Orlando).
"It's kind of interesting for us, too. Yes, Barbara and I will have a house, but our house is a rental house. Every very unit there is meant not to have permanent owners. It's meant to have rental owners. Obviously you can stay at your house if you want to but the rest of the time it's producing income and paying for what you got. I think that's really unique."
Nicklaus and his wife are providing significant personal influence on the project's overall design and theme and it will be the first vacation rental home project in Florida "bearing" the personal touches of golf's famed Golden Bear. Another noted personal private club, of course, is Nicklaus' exclusive Bear's Club near his longtime personal residence in South Florida.
For instance, the new community will allow owners and renters the opportunity to relax in a private clubhouse adorned with memorabilia that honor one of the game's all-time winningest players. Besides this club within a club, owners and renters also have acess to Reunion's other courses, restaurants, driving ranges, pools, waterparks and various biking and hiking trails.
Homes are expected to be priced in the mid-to-high $700,000s for 3,500-square-foot homes with four bedrooms and 4-1/2 bathrooms to more than $1 million for the largest 4,945-square-foot homes with eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and bonus room.
Among the builders will be Bagley's City Homes.