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Sporting Club sees surge in sales

December 27, 2017 GMT

The Snake River Sporting Club saw a big increase in real estate sales during 2017 in what appears to be a final goodbye to the hard times that plagued it after its proposal and mistimed inception.

Jeff Heilbrun, executive vice president and director of sales at the golf course and residential development, south of Hoback Junction on the Snake River, said 21 properties were sold at the club this year. The value of the sales was about $34.3 million, he said, six times what was sold during 2016.

Heilbrun said more than one factor contributed to the turnaround, including a generally healthy real estate market and growing faith in the development after its rough start.

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“I think it was a combination of things,” he said. “First being the longevity of the new owner, and second having all the amenities that have been talked about now completed.”

Another advantage for people shopping for an investment or a second home in Jackson is that the two projects now being built and marketed, The Ranch Estates and The Lodges, have short-term zoning that allows vacation rentals, he said.

Other things also played a part.

“The local real estate community has really embraced the project,” Heilbrun said, and, on top of that, “it’s a good time in the Jackson real estate in general.”

Referrals from owners and members of the golf course club have also begun to push the project; the club added 46 members during the year, bringing the total to 266, he said.

And, finally, a general geographic trend played a part: “It seems a lot of the newer growth in Jackson is toward the south of town, where we are,” he said.

The Sporting Club went into the spring with a marketing push behind 63 newly platted single-family house lots. That was the most activity at the club since Cygnus Capital bought the development in February 2013 and completed the clubhouse and built its first duplexes. Heilbrun said 90 percent of the first phase of The Lodges has sold and is under construction; the second phase is about 30 percent sold, with a sales push just beginning. Heilbrun expects work on the second phase to begin in March or April.

The units sold this year were priced generally in the $1.3 million to $2.5 million range.

Also sold during the year were three of what the developers called The Ranch Estates. Those are 35-acre building parcels on a bench adjacent to the 257-acre golf course and its neighboring subdivision.

The total acreage of the development tops 1,000. There are still lots on the market at the course, Heilbrun said, and also one spec home.

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The Tom Weisskopf-designed course has been named best in Wyoming by Golf Digest and Golf.com.

The project, created by Jackson developer Dick Edgcomb as the Canyon Club, won county approval in 1999 after a long fight, but it fell into bankruptcy in 2008. Heilbrun credited Cygnus, of Atlanta, with putting the place on its feet after it sat partially completed for several years.

Though the recovery after the purchase by Cygnus was slower than hoped, Heilbrun said turning Snake River Sporting Club around was a big job.

“You want things to happen fast,” he said, “but they don’t — it takes a period of time and work.”

Heilbrun was previously general manager of Teton Pines Golf Club. He took over at the Sporting Club soon after Cygnus bought it.