In 1970, the Howerdd Family sold the resort to Realtec Corporation. Over the next 12 years, Sapphire Valley saw many changes in ownership. (Image: First townhouses built by Realec - Hilltop area.)
n 1973-1974 Realtec was purchased by CertainTeed and established Builders Investment Group – a real estate investment trust. Still operating as Realtec, they operated not only Sapphire Valley but Connestee Falls in Brevard, NC.
CertainTeed and other building material companies at the time attempted to drive lumber and building material sales in Sapphire Valley by owning and developing the resort.
The early 1970's saw the creation of The Hilltop Association, a cluster of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos and townhomes overlooking Fairfield Lake and an easy walk to Fairfield Inn. This residential neighborhood is still very active and boast of not only being the first to be built, but is one of only two neighborhoods on Lake Fairfield! Many units front or view the lake, others are placed along the ridge line between the lake and Highway 64.
In the mid-1970s the Saint-Gobain Company of France becomes a majority shareholder of CertainTeed and ordered the liquidation of real estate holdings.
In approximately 1975-76, Richard Ford, a board member, purchased the Sapphire Valley resort in a management buyout and operating under the company FordCo.
Fordco sold Sapphire Valley in 1982 to the expanding Fairfield Communities of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Fairfield Communities based in Little Rock, Arkansas, bought Sapphire Valley including the golf course, Fairfield Inn, and surrounding property accounting for approximately 5300 acres.
Fairfield Communities built a 2nd resort golf course known today as Sapphire National Golf Club. This was also the era of timeshare expansion and Sapphire Valley did not escape this phenomenon. Fairway Forest, Fox Hunt and Mountain Laurel developments were created. Theoretically a very good vacation concept, timeshare developers’ lack of resell control fueled the glut in timeshare weeks.
The Holly Forest residential areas were expanded to more than a 12 areas located all around Sapphire Valley. Dozens and dozens of homes were built over the coming years as many more families found the area a great place to visit or retire.
The image is the Sapphire Valley - Fairfield Sunburst Logo used during the 1980's.
Although the Fairfield Inn was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the Inn was 'threatened by structural integrity' in 1986 and was razed. Fairfield Communities stated they would rebuild it.
Unfortunately, in this writer’s humble opinion, the greed of Fairfield Communities and their rapid expansion and the desire to place a more modern hotel and cottage complex on the property influenced the decision to tear the Inn down.
Fairfield Communities in a timely twist of fate, experienced financial troubles and filed for bankruptcy soon after the Inn was destroyed it was never rebuilt.
Sapphire Valley Historical Society
64 East, Sapphire, North Carolina 28774, United States
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