Wedgefield Plantation Country Club in Georgetown, which has been closed for more than a year, has been purchased and the golf course could reopen as early as next spring.
Harry Karetas, 74, the owner for the past 28 years of Terminal Storage in North Myrtle Beach, and his wife, Yvonne, closed on the purchase Thursday from Paramont Capital of Phoenix, Ariz., which foreclosed on the property late in 2016.
Karetas said Monday that his purchase includes about 175 acres and he hopes to lease out the golf course, Manor House restaurant and bar, and an Olympic-size swimming pool -- possibly each through three separate agreements.
"I do have a gentleman interested in leasing the golf course already and have another party that's interested in leasing the swimming pool," Karetas said. "We'll just take it step by step, patiently, and try to get all the moving parts working for the same goal, which is to make the place productive again and entertaining for the public.
"I'm very excited about the property. I'll give it my best shot and we'll go from there."
Karetas said the potential golf course lessee indicated the course could reopen as early as the spring after things such as irrigation and drainage are checked and repaired or replaced if necessary.
"The course needs a little bit of upgrading," Karetas said. "It looks presentable at the moment but it needs fine tuning. Hopefully we'll have a grand opening sometime next spring."
Wedgefield is a 7,034-yard Porter Gibson and Bob Toski design that opened in 1972. It includes several ponds and large live oak trees and has had a difficult financial past that includes several sales, bankruptcies and foreclosures.
Karetas has never owned a golf course. He was shown the property by friend Gary Roberts, the vice president of business development for Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate.
"I became intrigued by the property," Karetas said. "It'a beautiful property and has a lot of history. The British were there back in the 1700s for God's sake. It was an old rice plantation.
"It's a shame it fell into disrepair, but it basically just needs a good cleaning up and refurbishing to some degree, but not a great deal."
Wedgefield is zoned as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that requires much of the property to remain green space. The course has about 370 homes around it, including 69 condos, according to Jacky Walton, president of the Wedgefield Plantation Association of homeowners.
Karetas said there are several acres of developable land included in his purchase, as well as four tennis courts, and he plans to utilize a guest cottage on the property as his weekend retreat.
The purchase price filed with the Georgetown County Registrar of Deeds is $650,000.
"I think I bought it for considerably less than the value," Karetas said. "... I felt if for no other reason it has good real estate value. It has several nice buildings on the property. The trees alone are 400 years old."
Karetas said he has met with representatives of the Wedgefield HOA. "We're looking forward to working together for the benefit of everyone concerned," he said.
Former owner Ray Watts, a real estate developer and owner of Apex Homes, closed the golf course last June citing a lack of play and poor financial performance. Paramont foreclosed late last year on a defaulted loan to Watts, who had renovated the Manor House.