The Club King

What doesn’t add up immediately is why a man with numerous success stories in major global businesses, like ships and oil, turns his attention to building private clubs. But de Savary’s attitude toward his current passions is clear.

“I’ve always been on the adventurous side of business,” he says, with his soft but clipped British accent keeping his words clear and concise. “I’m either fixing things or repairing things or creating things. I’m not an asset stripper or speculator. I’ve never had any success in the stock market in my life; in fact, whenever I’ve been in it, I’m always losing. I’ve always been someone to add value, and where possible, recognize assets that are undervalued and in need of something being done to them.” With a small sweep of his hand toward the bay, he adds, “This land is a great example of that.”

Carnegie Abbey was the last of de Savary’s land purchases in the 1990s. Since then, he has bought two other properties to create additional private clubs: a big chunk of Abaco Island in the Bahamas, where he’ll develop the Carnegie Club at Abaco, and a piece of land in Luten, England. Both are projected to open in 2004.

The Rhode Island property is a 500-acre parcel that de Savary has leased until 2097 from the adjacent Benedictine monastery. The plan is to cap membership at 375 (there are some 250 members now, just two years after opening). The members pay a refunfodable membership fee of $140,000 and annual dues of $7,500. He expects to close the membership roster this year, to save slots for people buying into the second phase of the project: houses and condos along Narragansett Bay, starting at $750,000 a lot in a development dubbed Carnegie Harbor. The land in the second phase was once home to a Kaiser Aluminum factory.

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