Feb
 
26

WGV Resident Profile: Art Carlo

Posted by: Caryn Best in WGV Residents
 

Arthur Carlo is a World Golf Village resident who has given back immeasurably to the community he calls home.  Art has served as the President & CEO of Cascades Homeowners Association since 2007.  We recently had the pleasure of talking with Art.

Q: How did you come to call Cascades home? My wife, Rosalie, and I wanted to live closer to our grandchildren.  We looked at several 55+ communities in Florida, including in Orlando and North Florida.  From the moment we drove into World Golf Village, we were impressed.  The landscaping and the planning gave the community a welcoming sense of arrival.  When we toured Cascades and learned about its amenities, it clearly was a notch above.  I call it a cruise ship lifestyle without the water. Then Rosalie fell in love with the kitchen and we knew it was home!

Q: How did you turn from resident to President & CEO of Cascades HOA? Soon after we moved to Cascades in October 2006, the owner filed for bankruptcy.  It was a stressful time for residents.  We had been excited about enjoying our retirement, and now we were worrying about the investments we had made in our homes, what would happen to our lovely neighborhood, and the neighbors we cared about.  I had spent 37 years as a senior level hospital administrator running a 362-bed hospital in Maryland, and I had helped revive and build-up our church in the D.C. area.  I have a strong sense of community and I feel compelled to get involved when there’s a need.

Q: How did Cascades become a success story of the real estate bust? I was asked by the then court appointed administrator, Soneet Kapila, to attend a meeting with many of the attorneys representing Levitt, the sub contractors, the banks, the lenders, etc.  I sat and listened for over four hours as this group went back and forth on their misfortunes over the bankruptcy. At no time did I hear any concerns over the homeowners who had lost their large deposits and in some cases their life savings, so I asked to address the group.

My main focus was to get across to the bank representatives that Cascades could still be a viable investment, and that we could help the many people who had lost so much of their money with their home deposits, design deposits, etc. – in some cases over $100,00. I guess I reached home because a few days later I received a call from Mr. Kapila that my presentation got the attention of the Wachovia executives at the meeting, and they wanted to know what my plan was. I suggested a meeting with all potential homeowners who had lost monies as a result of the Levitt bankruptcy. The dinner meeting was held at the King & Bear.  I reminded the people who had so much to lose financially that we could still save the Cascades, we could achieve their dream, and fulfill their life style if we would band together and allow Mr. Kapila to finish their once started homes. I told the group that if we (the people in this room) would sign a contract to have their homes completed, Mr. Kapila and I would sign a joint agreement that would allow our club house, pools, three tennis courts and two bocce courts to be completed. The one most significant piece of the puzzle, we needed to sell 15 homes over one weekend. The meeting took place on a Monday, and so the “sale weekend” started 5 days later.  The great news was that we sold not only the 15 required, but actually 22 homes, and the agreement was signed and our amenity center was completed.

Q: That’s impressive!  Was the work over at that point? No, I then negotiated with all Cascades creditors to help address the debt we were left with when the developer went bankrupt.  The investors made good on their promise and finished our beautiful 22,000-square foot grand clubhouse and first-rate amenities.  Then, three years ago, we were happy that Dock Street Communities purchased Cascades and has been an excellent steward and developer of the property.  Today we have 368 homes.

Q: Heading up the HOA takes a lot of time and work.  What drives you? This is a community where neighbors look after neighbors.  When we bought our home in Cascades, we had to go back to Maryland for a month to finalize the sale of our house there.  We didn’t know our new World Golf Village neighbors, yet they offered to look out for our new home while we were gone.  It really is a family here.  I’m a spiritual person, and I felt God said “this is your home” from the moment we drove into Cascades.  I feel it’s my calling to take care of this community I’m so proud to call home.

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