1 of 5
2 of 5
3 of 5
4 of 5
5 of 5
It is not uncommon to see the corporate jets with the Miami Dolphin emblem on the tail at the McKinnon Airport on St. Simons Island. Once a curiosity, now Island residents know the Dolphin jet sighting just means the Huizenga family is probably in town and in residence at their home in Frederica. In July 2011, Elegant Island Living first introduced readers to Wayne and Marti Huizenga and their vision for the newly acquired Frederica property in “The Heart of Frederica.” Since that time, there has been tremendous progress at Frederica and the Huizenga group has firmly established itself as a positive force in the Golden Isles community.
Wayne Huizenga purchased Frederica, originally founded and designed by the Jones family and Sea Island Company, in a joint real estate venture in October 2010. The well-known chairman and CEO of corporations such as Waste Management, Blockbuster, and AutoNation, as well as the owner of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins, created Frederica Realty in 2011 for marketing and sales of the Frederica properties. Bill Peacher is the genial president of Frederica Realty and an enthusiastic tour guide for the 3,000 acre property that encompasses 400 acres of man-made freshwater lake stocked with bass. The development is simply gorgeous, with interconnected waterways for hours of boating pleasure, and lush wooded areas that abound with wildlife and easily ensure privacy for the homes built there. Its other key attraction: the world-class championship Tom Fazio-designed golf course on which the PGA Touring pros love to play.
Additional amenities available to members of Frederica include gourmet dining showcasing the culinary talents of Chef Connor Rankin, the magnificent tabby boathouse with its fleet of electric boats and wooden canoes, a pool and poolhouse with an outdoor entertaining area and firepit, walking and riding trails, the state-of-the-art equestrian facilities at the Stables at Sea Island, a cultural arts center, and a 400-acre rookery. (Not all amenities come with ownership of property at Frederica.)
Continuing to Improve:
Peacher points out that more than $5 million has been made in improvements at Frederica in the past year. A new second entrance closer to the stables is currently under construction. Five new cottages for the use of golf club members and guests were built. The cottages replicate the style of the larger homes located in the development and boast easy access to the golf course. The course itself was over-seeded and a new fleet of golf carts was purchased. The tennis courts were restored and improvements were made in the clubhouse. The boathouse kitchen was renovated and new boats and tackle were also added. A pub has been built at the clubhouse and is expected to open this month.
The Frederica Golf Club currently has approximately 200 dues-paying members. Club membership includes 11 current PGA Touring professionals, including McGladrey Team members Davis Love III and Zach Johnson, as well as Lucas Glover, Jonathan Byrd, and our favorite homegrown ace pitcher, Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Club also boasts a 35-acre practice facility that Tom Fazio called “one of the best in the country.” Now Frederica is opening a Learning Center and indoor practice facility that will be open to members and guests year-round. The indoor facility includes top of the line equipment and advanced golf technology such as indoor teaching bays, computer-based swing analysis, and a launch monitor, as well as services like club fitting, repair, individual and group lessons.
Real Estate Gains:
Real estate sales at Frederica are picking up significantly. Peacher says there is a renewed excitement from the membership that is promising to watch. 2011 and 2012 have been years of constant improvements. Four new homes were constructed in 2011, and seven new lots were sold so far in 2010, as well as one resale home. There are three homes currently under construction, two others are in design stage, and several others are in concept stage. New lakefront properties are now being offered and five of those lots have sold since their initial release.
A quick visit with the Horsky family who was on site while their home is being completed was nothing but smiles as they commented on how well the process was going and their eagerness to get into their new home. Property owners are also recommending that their friends purchase property in Frederica. There is a demonstrated confidence in Huizenga’s ownership and Peacher is optimistic about new growth.
In another exciting development, Traton Homes, a company with strong St. Simons Island connections, has started work on Alford Lane cottages, 2,800-3,500 sq. ft. cottages with Low Country influences, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and an open living space, located on smaller lake access or lake view lots. Frederica is thrilled that Traton Homes, with financing from Wells Fargo Bank, demonstrated the confidence and commitment to Frederica to build there and provide such a desirable product with accessible pricing for prospective members.
Involvement and active membership in the Golden Isles community is important to Huizenga and the Frederica staff. Marti Huizenga can’t express enough how much she loves it on St. Simons Island. She says when she comes through the front gate she can feel herself slow down and breathe easier. They are not passive owners, but frequently stay at the house they built shortly after the acquisition. Even daughter, Pam, a jewelry designer, sells her beautiful creations at local boutique Planter’s Exchange.
The Huizengas and their employees frequent local restaurants, such as Delaney’s and Halyards, and are quick to recommend them to their guests. When they eat at Gnat’s Landing, they’ll tell you Cindy Stephenson is their favorite server. Cindy says, “Wayne and Marti are two of the nicest people that I know. They are just genuine down to earth good people.”
As volunteer at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School, Cindy knows how important it is for local businesses to foster good relationships with the schools and community organizations. Huizenga and his employees do just that. She explains, “I love the staff at Frederica. On “Walk to School Day,” they let us park at the stables. They had people directing us and even had a bus go to the school and bring everyone back to their cars. That is what I call going above and beyond!”
Huizenga has also shared his generosity with Frederica Academy, providing funding for its newly established football program, and to the Boys and Girls Club of South Coastal Georgia with the purchase a new bus. Frederica has opened its doors and its arms to non-profit groups to host events at the boathouse and clubhouse. Gala Co-Chair Lauren Hopkins raved about how wonderful the staff at Frederica was to work with when they were planning the American Cancer Society’s 2012 Victory Gala: A Southern Soiree. We look forward to the boathouse being the setting for the 2013 Candlelight Carnival to benefit the Golden Isles Career Academy on September 7. It's going to be a spectacular event!
What is perhaps most noteworthy about the Huizengas and the Frederica employees is that they are appreciative of the individuals that they deal with on a regular basis, at all levels. From Dan Bartok and his staff at Wells Fargo, builders like Bill Poston of Traton Homes, and architect Chad Goehring at Harrison Design, to the aviation staff, and Chris and Roy who provide their services from Seaside Transportation, their contributions are acknowledged and their names are remembered. It’s clear that the progress that continues under Huizenga’s leadership at Frederica is very much a team effort . . . and Wayne Huizenga knows a little something about teams.