Cliffs filing bankruptcy

UPSTATE — ClubCo., the Cliffs communities subsidiary with ownership of its golf courses, clubhouses and other amenities, like so many other developments impacted by the nation’s economic recession, is filing for bankruptcy.
There are eight Cliffs communities located in the Upstate and one in western North Carolina.
Property owners at all of the Cliffs communities were notified last week of ClubCo.’s intentions to file bankruptcy via letter.
In April 2010, The Cliffs announced it was borrowing $62 million from approximately 534 property owners and residents of its communities to build golf courses and other amenities at the developments. That money went to ClubCo., however, even that loan could not completely relieve the Cliffs’ financial burdens.
Those residents have yet to see any reimbursement of the money that was borrowed.
Jim Anthony, CEO of The Cliffs, faces millions of dollars worth of debt. Anthony and his family own 80 percent of the Cliffs communities. A fund benefiting its employees, now numbering about 440, owns the rest.
Steve and Penny Carlile, a couple from Texas, have announced that they will be taking over the subsidiary and putting money into Cliffs amenities like clubhouses and golf courses. In addition, they will take over efforts to sell home lots in the company’s eight communities.
The Carlile Group will supply The Cliffs a bridge loan until it gets through bankruptcy proceedings and then invest a significant amount of capital as it takes over.
With the boom of high unemployment rates and people struggling simply to make ends meet, the market for luxury properties — with amenities like state-of-the-art golf courses designed by golf legends like Jack Nickolus — steadily declined.
The Cliffs properties at High Carolina have remained mostly unsold, and the Tiger Woods golf course is still not completed. Although Steve and Penny Carlile are not sure what their plans are yet for that community, they hope to finish the course.