St. Johns County approves $5.5 million plan to buy the property at World Golf Village

It also agreed to purchase and lease back the IMAX Theater and PGA Tour Productions facility on the property.

The World Golf Hall of Fame site in St. Johns County.
The World Golf Hall of Fame site in St. Johns County.
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The St. Johns County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on April 16 to buy the property owned by World Golf Village Foundation Inc. at World Golf Village for $5.5 million.

The  36.7-acre purchase includes the PGA Tour Productions building, surrounding walkways, the lake at the heart of the complex and parking lots. The sale includes machinery, equipment, fixtures, furniture, office equipment and other tangible personal property.

St. Johns County already owns the building that housed the closed World Golf Hall of Fame museum. It also contains an IMAX Theater, which remains open.

The commission agreed to lease the IMAX Theater and PGA Tour Productions building to the foundation through March 2025.

District 4 Commissioner Krista Joseph voted against the resolution authorizing the purchase, saying it would be a burden for the county to manage the property and facilities. She said focusing on public safety is more important. 

District 2 Commissioner and Board Chair Sarah Arnold said the path to approval was “quite a journey.”

The World Golf Foundation announced in July 2022 it would close the St. Augustine Hall of Fame and relocate it to its original home in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The museum shut down Sept. 1, 2023. 

The Hall of Fame was founded in Pinehurst in 1974 and moved to St. Augustine in 1998 as the centerpiece of the World Golf Village resort community, at International Golf Parkway west of Interstate 95.

PGA Tour Productions plans to relocate from its 32,329-square-foot building at World Golf Village to the PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach at the end of 2024.

After the announcement, the county’s proposal says the county saw the change as “an exceptional chance to influence the transformation of these properties in accordance with the community’s aspirations and requirements.”

The county will fund the $5.5 million sale with $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act program, $2 million from 2019 Capital Improvement Fund intended for a library and $1.55 million from Public Building Impact Fees.

County Administrator Joy Andrews told the commission that money for the library was unspent.

Two appraisals were performed, according to county documents.

In a July 2022 statement, World Golf Hall of Fame CEO Greg McLaughlin expressed gratitude for the decadeslong arrangement with St. Johns County. McLaughlin also is chairman of the World Golf Foundation.

“The Hall of Fame has the utmost appreciation for the support it has received from the state of Florida – as well as the Northeast Florida community – over the past two-plus decades,” he said.

District 5 Commissioner Henry Dean, who supports the acquisition, called the site “a blank canvas” that will allow the county to work with businesses to develop the land with input from residents over time. 

The area around the closed Hall of Fame has multiple owners. Four of the five buildings in front of the Hall are owned by WGV Commercial LLC and one is owned by Reverb Church Inc.

The county owns the nearby convention center and hotel property on the site and its parking lot.



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