St. Joe Partners with Miraval, Exclusive Resorts
Thursday, June 7, 2007
By Tim Croft Star News Editor
While it may have gone largely unnoticed the past few weeks, a recent partnership formed by The St. Joe Company could have a dramatic ripple effect through the local economy in the coming years.
The St. Joe Company recently announced that it had reached an agreement to partner with Miraval LLC to create a Miraval Village at WindMark Beach Phase II.
In a separate deal, Exclusive Resorts, which according to its website is the world’s largest luxury destination club, plans to purchase 30 home sites at WindMark Beach and its Southern Accents Home.
Exclusive Resorts intends to build luxury residences and offers its members privileges and access to the amenities and programs in the planned Miraval Village, according to a release from The St. Joe Company.
The release details that the companies will announce more detailed information on their respective plans later this year.
While separate deals, Miraval and E x c l u s i v e Resorts are connected in that that both companies are largely owned by America Online (AOL) founder Steve Case.
Case, an early pioneer of the Internet, built AOL from the ground up before selling it to Time Warner before the Internet bubble burst.
He was forced out of Time Warner in 2003 and turned his attention elsewhere.
For several years, Case has focused on changing the health care and the health and wellness industries in the country.
In 2005, Case founded Revolution, a private holding company to invest in startups that, over the next two decades, will take on incumbent companies in health care, wellness, and resort vacations, according to a profile in Business Week Magazine, “banking on aging boomers’ desire for a healthier, more balanced life.”
Case invested in Exclusive Resorts and Miraval and has been since negotiating potential investments in companies that help consumers manage their health care, according to Business Week.
Case is the majority stakeholder in Miraval, which in just a decade has become one the best known names in the spa and wellness industry, according to MSNBC.
He also founded and coowns Exclusive Resorts and is on the board of directors of both companies.
The decisions of the two companies indicate that WindMark Beach and Gulf County could become a future player of significance in the multi-billion dollar health care and health and wellness sectors, attracting high-paying jobs to the area at the same time.
While the announcement of the partnerships was rolled out with the first quarter earning release for The St. Joe Company early last month, it has flown primarily under the radar despite the potential for boosting local economic development and job creation.
The Miraval Village concept will be similar to its Arizona-based spa/resort – the company also has a spa in New York City.
According to the company’s website, “At Miraval Life in Balance (in Arizona), each activity provides an opportunity to bring life more fully into balance. Ranked as the No. 1 spa by readers of Conde Nast and Travel and Leisure, Miraval opens the door to self-awareness and self-acceptance. It’s a destination resort where ‘mindfulness’ is a way of life, a powerful way of approaching our lives to promote health and enjoy life. Thankfully, the benefits of ‘Life in Balance’ are certain to last well beyond your stay.”
Miraval’s Arizona resort and line of products were featured in the June edition of O Magazine, the magazine owned by Oprah Winfrey, who has also featured the spa and its long line of products on her show.
Exclusive Resorts was founded with a “With one mission: to create far more rewarding vacations for Club members. We accomplish this goal by combining the best things about staying in vacation homes with the best things about staying in luxury resorts—while eliminating the disadvantages of both,” according to the company’s website.