Cheap TN National lots are Thunder's

Remember yesterday's news about price-slashing at Tennessee National?

As it turns out, the lots in question are owned by an entity linked to Chattanooga developer John "Thunder" Thornton -- who no longer has an equity stake in the Loudon County golf development.

Apparently, Thunder Bend LLC last July turned over its 30 percent stake in Tennessee National to its partner on the project, Medallist USA. (For what it's worth, Medallist Developments was founded as a joint venture between pro golfer Greg Norman's Great White Shark Enterprises and Macquarie Bank of Australia.)

In an interview on Thursday, Thornton said there was a difference in management philosophy on the project "and I thought it was best that I re-direct my working capital in other areas."

As part of the deal, Thornton said, his firm acquired approximately 26 lots (and some undeveloped land), including the 14 -- located along the 10th Fairway and practice putting green -- that are now being offered at prices which, according to a news release, are "less than half the price of previously sold comparable lots."

The developer said he had maintained that more lots would be sold if they were priced aggressively, but "I didn't have 100 percent of the votes."

"Now, with these lots, I do have 100 percent of the votes, there's no bank debt on any of them and I can sell them for what I want," he said.

Asked how projects like Tennessee National have been affected by the economic climate, Thornton acknowledged that things are tough, but said there's business out there.

"I don't think you can sell Floridians Florida land right now, but you can sell Floridians East Tennessee land," he said. "I mean there's great value here...You've gotta hammer these points (that) this is a very low cost place to live, and you don't have massive swings and devaluations like Destin and Las Vegas and other areas that had huge spike-ups."