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STAMFORD, CT-GE Real Estate has formed a relationship with golf course design firm Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates of Toledo, OH to gain a presence in new segments of the golf course finance and design markets. The locally based GE, which has provided approximately $400 million in first mortgage financing so far this year in transactions secured by semi-private and private golf course properties, is now looking to enter the membership-owned golf course finance sector.

Jim Mendelson, managing director, golf lending and new product development at GE Commercial Finance Real Estate, says the company has recently introduced a number of new products that include providing financing to member-owned golf clubs. Its new relationship will augment its efforts in that arena. The company has a current target of about $50 million in financing for the members-owned club sector, he adds.

“Initially, we will work together to leverage the well-established brand of the Arthur Hills organization to further strengthen GE’s position in the golf marketplace,” Mendelson says. He says the group will work with seasoned owners/operators who seek to acquire and refinance golf courses. “We also see many future possibilities, such as financing member-owned clubs.”

The union enables both firms to offer clients “a broader base of recommended services to support their strategies for growth,” says Quentin Lutz, vice president of global business development with Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest.

“Traditionally, the golf course architect is party to course development or renovation plans at a very early stage,” adds Arthur Hills, the firm’s founder and principal. “We’re there when decisions are made and we’ve always done our best to direct our clients to viable financing options.”

Lutz says that the partnership’s first priority is to provide financing to third-party golf course owners that currently own multiple properties or who are looking to own multiple properties. In those deals, Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest would provide architectural design services to the client and GE Capital. The second priority is for GE Real Estate and Arthur Hills to finance golf course properties that are seeking to perform renovation or enhancements. The minimum deal in that sector would be $5 million, Lutz notes. In the future the two firms would also like to pursue the financing of new or existing golf course resort and golf course residential projects.

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