(April 20, 2011) - With hundreds of private communities to choose from and an ever-present challenging economic climate, why do residents choose to stay and buy at The Landings on Savannah’s Skidaway Island? Is it the plethora of amenities, the numerous honors and awards or perhaps the small-town atmosphere?
All of those are certainly inherent reasons why a person would choose The Landings, but one of the reasons they choose to stay and buy is larger than golf courses, marsh views and a water slide. It is the philosophy of continual evolution, resident-inspired upgrading and responsible financial choices that set The Landings apart from other private communities.
The recent renovation of the Oakridge Clubhouse exemplifies the implementation of such a philosophy. “Serving our members is at the core of our mission,” said Gunnard Cunningham, director of club operations at The Landings Club. “Club members do not have to eat at our clubhouses. This renovation, as with other upgrades made on the property, was all about earning their business.”
“We want our members to choose to dine at our clubhouses. With that goal in mind, every change made to the clubhouse was made to satisfy the wants and needs of the members,” said Cunningham.
With the help of a twenty question survey and more than twelve hundred responses, Cunningham was able to get inside the member mindset and determine that the most sought-after options were a more social bar area, a comfortable lounge and a traditional chophouse. Along with interior designer and Landings resident Deborah Morcott of DDM Designs, Cunningham was able to create all three of those spaces within the existing structure, while maintaining the philosophy of repurposing rather than replacing.
“Dining is a highly social activity at The Landings Club,” said Steven Freund, executive director of The Landings Club, “and Oakridge Steak and Pub sets the stage for us to deliver a classic steakhouse experience in an environment that's conducive to building memories, friendships and enjoying great food that's elegant in its simplicity."
The new bar area features a traditional breakfront back bar. With fourteen bar seats and a mixture of high and low tables and flat panel televisions, this pub-style bar creates a warm, social space. This area also received new paint, new lighting and new carpet, but in the spirit of repurposing, the existing dining chairs were kept and reupholstered to match the décor.
In contrast to the warm, social bar area, the main dining room is elegant and bright, but received a facelift as well. New carpet, new curtains, new paint, reupholstered chairs, repurposed mirrors from the lobby and repainted chandeliers made this a dramatic transformation from dark to charming.
“A unique feature I wanted to add was the wine presence,” said Cunningham. “Particularly at a chophouse, I want people to see wine and expect to drink wine. The double-sided cabinetry piece was placed in the old doorway between the bar and dining room. By using Plexiglas as a divider between the two sides rather than wood, we are still allowing the energy to flow between the spaces.”
Adjacent to the main dining room, Cunningham transformed original additional dining space into a transitional lounge. Now furnished with lower, softer seating and smaller tables, the sunroom is a perfect area to relax after dinner or just enjoy views of the eighteenth hole of the Oakridge Golf Course. To create a clean, fresh feeling that resonates beyond the floor to ceiling windows, the sunroom received new paint, new carpet and repurposed curtains that were formerly in the main dining room.
“We wanted to be mindful when doing this renovation and try to please as many members as possible while maintaining a budget,” said Cunningham. “30 percent of the budget was spent on repairs and upgrading safety features. In the kitchen, we were able to repair almost every piece of equipment which saved thousands of dollars.”
To round out this incredible transformation, two months prior to the grand opening The Landings hired Jim Zambito as the new Executive Chef of the Oakridge Steakhouse and Pub.
“As an Italian American, environment, food and family have always been very important to me,” said Zambito. Chef Zambito refers to being a chef as his desire, and his love of food and ingredients as his passion, which makes him a perfect fit in a community that shares his love of food.
While Oakridge Clubhouse is a wonderful example of The Landings renovation philosophy, it is certainly not the only example. The Oakridge Fitness and Wellness Center recently underwent a massive transformation, turning it into a 48,000 square foot state of the art facility complete with spa amenities. The center also offers a complete workout using full-circuit training lines, computer-controlled treadmills, step-trainers and other cardiovascular equipment, along with multiple swimming pool options and wellness programs.
Additionally, Deer Creek Golf Course was recently remodeled as well. Greens were rebuilt, closely mown chipping swales added and the irrigation system and cart paths were completely redone. Throughout the renovation in 2009, Tom Fazio, golf legend and course designer, returned to oversee the modernization of the course.
But amidst renovations, amenities and a small-town feel, perhaps the most amazing facet of The Landings is the fact that they are 100% homeowner owned and operated and they are also debt-free, which is quite a feat in this tough economic climate.
With the philosophy of responsible budgets and member-inspired upgrades, The Landings is surging ahead of the competition by staying true to their mission and continually investing in the spirit of this island community.
About The Landings
The Landings on Skidaway Island is located less than 10 miles south of Savannah, Georgia’s historic downtown. Six championship golf courses weave around the lagoons and oak forests of this private golf community, set on a 6,500-acre island. Residents enjoy miles of walking and biking trails, 34 tennis courts, two deep-water marinas and a variety of other coastal amenities. Named “one of the nation’s best residential communities” by the Urban Land Institute, the community and Club have been resident- and member-owned since the 1990s, offering a unique level of stability. More information is available by calling (800) 841-7011 .
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