News 12 at 6 O'Clock, March 18, 2010
There's an empty parking lot. 80 empty hotel rooms. Even the security is gone from the Savannah Lakes Resort. The McCormick vacation spot overlooking Lake Thurmond closed indefinitely. 20 employees were sent home Tuesday.
For Rose Moore there are other concerns. Her daughter was supposed to get married at the resort's conference center in May. They paid 700 dollars to reserve a reception area, plus four hotel rooms for family coming from Germany.
"It all fell apart, and we are kind of very upset," said Moore.
Owners say the conference center was booked through October. But they weren't making money, because they were having trouble filling hotel rooms.
Owner Austin Trupp released a statement to News 12.
"It is with great disappointment that Savannah Lakes Resort makes the announcement that it has had to temporarily shut down operations as of Tuesday, March 16, 2010. We would like to offer our apologies to all of our guests, property owners, employees and suppliers that have been so vital to our success over the years and to thank them for their continued support through these challenging times. As a result of the closure, 20 of the best people that one could imagine have lost their jobs and will struggle through this difficult period as well. They are good friends and our hearts and prayers will be with them and their families.
The closure is the result of the ongoing real estate market turmoil and credit crisis having made obtaining the financing that we need to fund short term liquidity issues unavailable. Also, with the pervasive lack of liquidity in the market, the investor market has become vicious and inhumane which further deepens the lack of traditional funding. If you combine the lack of credit availability with the lack of sales volume, the situation became temporarily unsustainable. We will continue our efforts to arrange the necessary financing and get back on our feet.
Specifically, we would also like to offer our deepest apologies to all of the people that had reservations in our system in the coming months. We have contacted or will contact every one of them personally by phone to notify them of the situation, to help them adjust their plans and to assist them any way that we can."
Said Moore: "You don't find that out overnight, open up your checkbook and find you don't have any money."
Down the road, the closing caused some confusion with people who thought the Savannah Lakes Village and Golf Clubs was shut down.
"Like anything up here, the Savannah Lakes name is a pretty common type name," said Chief Operating Officer David Twiggs.
So the resort doesn't affect other businesses. But the golf club has found themselves helping those like Rose and others.
Said Twiggs: "We're trying to work with the folks and find them some different accommodations."
Rose and her daughter are just hoping they find a new place for the wedding. Resort staff says they hope to give refunds and find customers a new place to stay
"It's the middle of March and the middle of the week, and nobody had any indication it would happen," said Moore.