an Impressive Past
Plans to Become a Premier Hospitality Company in
(Information and excerpts culled from article in
The Orlando Sentinel by Jack Snyder, Sentinel
Staff Writer, Published February 19, 2007)
The president and chief executive officer of Ginn
Development Co. LLC has a simple philosophy: "Keep
everybody happy. Help everyone enjoy life to the
Robert "Bobby" Ginn is one of the biggest
developers in Florida. His goal, he says, is to
build a huge, vertically integrated hospitality
time goes on, hospitality operations will surpass
development," Ginn, who also founded the company,
predicted recently. "We're building a premier
Central Florida company, which does business as
Ginn Resorts, has more than 40,000 acres in its
land bank. It has already has launched nearly two
dozen projects across the country and in the Bahamas.
company has been based in Celebration, Florida since
2002. Now Ginn is planning to move his headquarters
to his first local project -- Reunion Resort &
Golf Club of Orlando.
Ginn Resorts is actually an umbrella corporation
for a host of other Ginn companies. One Ginn operation
oversees construction of his resorts. Another handles
the marketing and sales. Yet another manages the
owner associations and provides security and other
services. There's also a property-management company
and a financial-services unit that offers mortgages
to would-be buyers.
said his vision is to create resorts that are not
just hotels or residential communities. Rather,
they are designed to be all-in-one destinations
in with first-class amenities. "We're going
to provide everything guests need to really enjoy
themselves," he said. "It's all about
creating the best environment we can for customers."
Ginn, one of Florida's largest developers, has big
plans for the future of his company and the destination
resorts he's designing. (Photo credit: Hilda M.
Perez, Orlando Sentinel)
who buy homes or condos usually have the option
to place their property in resort-run rental programs,
helping to generate income when they aren't staying
there. That concept, widely promoted as condo hotels,
has in recent years gained popularity in the U.S.
and Europe, especially the United Kingdom, Orlando's
of international visitors.
Central Florida, Ginn Resorts is developing the
2,300-acre Reunion Resort, south of Disney on Interstate
4, and an ultra-exclusive country club community
called Bella Collina, on the western shore of Lake
Apopka near the Lake County town of Montverde.
Collina is about 95 percent sold, while Reunion
Resort is almost out of inventory, though it is
still developing both home lots and condominiums.
Ginn resorts have a golf component, with some of
the top names in the business -- Arnold Palmer,
Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson included -- hired to
design the courses.
The biggest development will be Ginn sur Mer in
the Bahamas, a 2,000+ acre project that will encompass
everything from marinas and a casino to signature
golf courses and restaurants. Over 4,000 condo hotel
units and several hundred homes will be part of
the Ginn sur Mer project.
Ginn is not limited to tropical endeavors. The company
is also moving into ski resorts. Developments in
Vermont and Colorado target skiers. A 6,000-acre
development near Boone, N.C., will offer golf but
is also near several Appalachian ski resorts.
enjoy-life rule for luring customers also has led
Ginn to sponsor events such as concerts for resort
owners and guests. The company's properties are
now involved in three LPGA golf tournaments and
a PGA Champions Tour event, and Ginn has sponsorship
deals with some of the sport's biggest names, including
LPGA standout Annika Sorenstam and Lee Janzen of
the PGA Tour.
Sports Entertainment LLC was created a couple of
years ago to look after the company's professional-sports
endeavors, which now include ownership of a NASCAR
Nextel racing team. The newly renamed Ginn Racing,
based in Mooresville, N.C., can be employed as an
amenity for customers, business associates and others
seeking prime access to drivers and behind-the-scenes
action at races.
are events where you can have a lot of fun,"
said Ginn, who also noted that NASCAR races reach
huge television audiences, who will see the Ginn
name on cars advertising his resorts (though the
cars' prime sponsors are the U.S. Army and Waste
Ginn has been involved in real estate development
nearly all his life. He started working with his
father in Hampton, S.C., building a few homes a
year. Soon the company was building 700 houses annually
and moving into commercial development.
out on his own, Ginn developed his first golf course
in 1971 at Pleasant Point, a community near Charleston.
He later moved to Hilton Head Island, S.C., where
a series of development successes were derailed
by crushing debt that led to a major career reversal
in the 1980s.
nearly broke after that debacle, Ginn began rebuilding
almost immediately. By the mid-1990s, Ginn looking
at Palm Coast, the giant development that fronts
both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway
in Flagler County. He and his partners developed
a business plan that would persuade baby boomers
with no interest in retirement -- as defined by
their parents, at least -- to buy into top-quality
resorts in Florida, South Carolina and elsewhere.
Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.
a few years, he was developing Hammock Beach in
Palm Coast and has since become a major developer
there. By 2001, he had launched Reunion Resort near
Walt Disney World.
Lyon, a former Ginn executive and now president
of Xentury City Development Co. in Orlando, said
Ginn personally has a "passion and commitment"
for his developments and the communities in which
has translated into corporate-giving projects ranging
from a $20,000 playground for the tiny community
of Montverde, near Bella Collina in Lake County,
to $2.5 million to help build an engineering school
at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers,
where Ginn is planning a development.
said development projects now in the company pipeline
extend out at least a decade or more -- enough work
to suggest a slowing in the pace of future acquisitions.
not going to buy just to buy," he said. "When
you're looking that far out, you get pretty selective
about what you do."