It is human nature to assume that, when it seems like things can’t possibly get worse, they actually can’t.
That seems to be the overarching theme surrounding Diablo Grande’s new ownership and the reaction to its sale. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Things have been very bad for a very long time at that would-be oasis in the hills.
Environmental lawsuits slowed the development not by months, but by years. The downturn in the housing market exacerbated the problems. The water was unhealthy, a
problem that was neither quickly nor adequately handled. The golf courses were mismanaged.
Oh, and did we mention the whole bankruptcy thing?
Once listed for $150 million, Diablo Grande wound up selling Tuesday for the bargain-basement price of $20 million to resort developer World International.
World’s co-developer, Laurus Corporation, has so far said all the right things and made all the right moves to ensure a smooth transition, but who’s to say it won’t fall victim to the same issues that befuddled founder Donald Panoz and vice president of development Dwain Sanders all these years?
Not much is known about the investment partners that make up World International. But plenty is known about Laurus, and there certainly is reason for optimism to be found in the company’s track record.
One look at Laurus’ posh Web site, with its glistening photos and awe-inspiring renderings of current and future resort projects, is enough to get Diablo Grande homeowners all giddy inside. Should Laurus pull off the hotel, spa and convention center that is and always was the focal point of Diablo Grande’s plans, the rest could all fall into place.
Does it seem plausible that World and Laurus will succeed where Panoz failed? Sure it does.
But until it actually happens, we’re recommending a heaping dose of caution to go with your optimism. This sale will not solve this country’s economic problems. And these new owners don’t have a magic wand with which to raise home values or eliminate the environmental issues in those hills.
We’d love to see Diablo Grande flourish and become the destination all those involved want it to be. We’re just not going to get too excited about it yet.
The name might change, but this is still the old Diablo Grande until proven otherwise.