Beaufort News

New Daufuskie resort owner here to stay, says company official

The new owners of the Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa are committed to revamping it after it languished in bankruptcy for more than two years, their local representative told island residents Monday.

Rick Ryan, a longtime Pawleys Island developer who plans to move to Daufuskie, sought to introduce himself and his new employer, the Pelorus Group of Salt Lake City, during a meeting of the Daufuskie Island Council, an elected group that unofficially represents the island.

Pelorus recently bought assets that include the resort's inn and the Melrose golf course from Denver private-investment group AFG. AFG is a lender that received the assets this year after a trustee was unable to sell the bankrupt estate in its entirety.

Ryan sought to refute speculation Pelorus would "flip" the property by quickly selling to new buyers.

"We're here," he told about 50 people crowded into an old schoolhouse. "We're not going anywhere."

Pelorus managing partner J.T. Bramlette previously said the company isn't eager to flip the property but could sell it to one of the "big hospitality groups" that have inquired.

Ryan said Pelorus is still learning about the resort, which has fallen into disrepair during the bankruptcy.

Pelorus' first priority is sprucing up the golf course, which workers did well to nurture with limited funds, he said.

"We want to get it back to where it was in its prime," Ryan said.

Company officials have met with a group of the course's golfers and plan to do the same with property owners soon, he said.

Pelorus has ordered new golf carts, which should arrive in September, and new maintenance equipment, which should arrive by Thursday, Ryan said.

Pelorus' plans for other elements of the resort are less certain.

The company has yet to determine how it will use the inn and conference center, for example, and what it will do about transportation to and from the island, which is accessible only by boat. It didn't buy any of the marina facilities involved in the bankruptcy because the price wasn't right, he said.

The company is patient, however, so it should be able to work through such complications, Ryan said.

"We're kind of learning how to crawl," he said. "Hopefully, we will be walking in a couple months and then maybe might even get to sprint a little bit."