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What Will Become of Property in Wellington During WEF?

Five Hard Questions for Martha Jolicoeur- Former USET Athlete and Top Wellington Realtor

Wellington, FL – December 7, 2006 – Realtor Martha Jolicoeur lives and works in Wellington and her entire family is involved in the highest levels of the equestrian industry. In a candid interview, Jolicoeur weighs in on the debate about the Winter Equestrian Festival and its effects on property owners in Wellington.

Martha Jolicoeur: Let me start by saying, I do not know how the land disputes are going to play out. I do not think that anyone knows how it is going to play out, but I am on the side of preserving land for world class show jumping in Wellington.

With the recent turbulence and uncertainty about the future of the WEF in Wellington, what do you feel are people’s biggest concerns and most commonly asked questions?

Pretty directly, everyone’s biggest concern is if the horse show is going to move, and if so, where? Do we keep our houses? Do we keep our farms? My answer to that is to definitely keep your house, because if WEF does move it will be within commuting distance of where we live now. I would keep your farm because everyone has nice places and has worked hard to build them, and we have a great community here. I do not have any reservations, except for perhaps land adjoining the horse show.

As an equestrian and long-term resident of Wellington, what are your thoughts on the future of Wellington as an equestrian community?

I hope that Wellington will actually protect its equestrian community. I keep my horses down on the south end of Wellington during the off-season, and it is a great place to trail ride. I would hate to lose that. I hope Wellington will continue to be an equestrian destination for people from around the world. For the moment, I would say that it is stable for this year and next year. I trust Gene Mische not to lose that aspect. I give him a lot of credit for making Wellington part of the Global Champions Tour and part of international show jumping. I think that his anxiety over the confinement of the horse show facility is that he would not be able to provide that international level of competition to the people who are coming to Wellington. I hope in one way or another he is able to do that.

What is your gut feeling about how the current situation will play out?

I do not think that anyone can predict what Mark Bellissimo will do . I think that there is a good chance that everything could end up staying here because he holds the cards (the land) to allow it to continue here, it is just a question of what he wants to do with it.

As a real estate agent, what are you advising your clients to do?

I enjoy all of my clients so much, and I do not have anybody that is in this business strictly as an investment to quickly buy and sell property. Everybody that I have sold to, or sold for, did it because they actually liked their property and enjoy their property. Everyone is still enjoying their property. I do not have anyone complaining or panicked that they want out. I think everyone got in at the right price, and I do not have problems directly related to my clients.

Are things still pretty much on course for the 2007 show season in Wellington as you see it?

Yes, except for listings whose selling point is distance to the show grounds. That is a little bit uncertain for the moment. I have no problem with houses in the Polo Club or barns in Wellington, only land that adjoins the horse show. We will just have to wait and see. We are in a position right now where Wellington Equestrian Partners owns plenty of land. This could be easily resolved. It is not like there is no way out of this problem. There is a way out of this, and I think that contiguous land could be provided to Stadium Jumping to allow them to stay, and it would be an important part of their investment. [As Ken Kraus said in his article on PhelpSports.com], it is a matter of priorities, and my priority is to protect the future of world class show jumping in Wellington.

Photo Credit: Martha and Isabel Jolicoeur. Photo © 2006 Jennifer Wood.


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