The Omni Plantation, which is currently blocked by a court injunction of demolishing the Ocean Links Golf Course, issued a statement Wednesday which says the resort is within its rights to convert the 18-hole layout into a green space.
The statement released by Director of Resort Marketing Michelle Valley states the following:
Omni Hotels & Resorts and the Amelia Island Equity Club entered into an agreement with a 99 year term as part of Omni’s acquisition of the Amelia Island resort assets out of bankruptcy in September, 2010. The agreement provides for reciprocal use of amenities between the parties, allowing club members to use resort amenities (golf, tennis, fitness, pool and restaurants) and guests of the resort to play the Long Point course and use the Long Point driving range.
The agreement acknowledges that amenities demanded by resort guests and club members will necessarily change and evolve over the 99 year term of the agreement. Specifically, the agreement gives Omni rights to reconfigure, modify, relocate or replace the resort amenities, including golf, if Omni determines such changes are necessary in its good faith business judgment.
Omni’s business judgment is that current demand for golf is better served by making material improvements to the Oak Marsh course and investing all golf resources into the operation of one quality18-hole course. The Ocean Links course is by far the poorest quality course in Omni’s entire golf portfolio of 21 courses and Omni received many complaints about the quality of the golf layout. Omni believes Ocean Links denigrates the reputation of the resort as a quality golf destination.
The Omni statement also maintains that Ocean Links was not being supported by Amelia Island Club members. It states:
The agreement contemplates that the club would provide 10,000 rounds of golf on the two resort courses, yet the club is providing less than 3,000 rounds per year (with less than 1,000 of those rounds being played on Ocean Links). Golf today is more about quality of the course than quantity of the holes. Maintaining a golf course for less than 1,000 rounds per year of club member play is not sustainable and is not required by the agreement.
The Omni statement said there are no plans to develop the Ocean Links property, stating:
It is also important to communicate what Omni is not going to do with the Ocean Links property. Omni has no plans to develop residential real estate on the Ocean Links property. The only contemplated development is an event lawn on hole number six behind the resort.
Omni has invested over $150 million at Amelia Island and the decisions made by Omni have benefited all stakeholders of the Plantation, in many forms, including increased property values. No one has more at stake in this decision than Omni, and Omni is motivated more than anyone to ensure the Plantation maintains its status as a premier resort community and destination. The decision to close the Ocean Links was made to enhance and improve the status of the Plantation for the benefit of all of its stakeholders.
The Omni began bulldozing the Ocean Links green complexes on Nov. 12, but was stopped two days later following an order by a Nassau County judge. The Amelia Island Club had filed a complaint against The Omni claiming it was in breach of its contract with the club.
The case is scheduled to go before a mediator, however, a date has not be set.