From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Can they do that?

I've had a few people ask me about the palatial "home" under construction on Magnolia Drive.

These people, not being idiots, already realize that this monster house -- like the other palatial houses that have been built near Augusta National Golf Club in recent years -- is really a corporate hospitality venue designed (on the outside, anyway) to look like a home. What they wonder is: How can it be legal to locate a business right in the heart of a residential neighborhood?

Well, much like the policy with gays in the military, there's a lot of "don't ask, don't tell" going on.

The people building these structures say they are simply houses (nudge, nudge), and county officials (wink, wink) sign off on the permits even though they know in most cases that the only family occupying theses "homes" will be a bunch of paunchy Ralph Lauren-clad corporate types during Masters Week.
As long as neighbors -- including Augusta National -- aren't raising a stink about the hospitality homes, there's little reason for county officials to intervene.

What I'm curious about is whether the owner/operators of these homes are paying income tax. Current tax laws, in most cases, allow people up to two weeks of tax-free rental income on their homes each year. Considering that these particular houses are clearly business ventures*, there might be some "don't ask, don't tell" going on with the Tax Man as well.

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* If you don't believe me, feel free to check one of these homes out for yourself during Masters Week. It's fairly easy to just wander into one. It helps if you're wearing a golf shirt and acting a little tipsy.

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dhd1108
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dhd1108 03/26/07 - 03:34 am
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Hmm, I might just wander

Hmm, I might just wander into one then.
Just tell them Damon sent me eh?

This is definately one of those NIMBY things.
Granted it's not as bad as a mixed income apartment complex. But seriously, who wants a giant EYESORE thats going to be vacant for 50 weeks out of the year right down the street?

It's a magnet for vandalism.

Friggin WalMart looking houses.
Save 'em for Westlake.

fergie01
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fergie01 03/26/07 - 11:02 am
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ONCE THE MANSION IS VACANT

ONCE THE MANSION IS VACANT THE OWNERS WILL GET A BIG SUPRISE. THE HOMELESS WILL HAVE A PLACE TO STAY RENT-FREE AND THE KIDS WILL HOLD SUMMER PARTIES AND SKIP SCHOOL PARTIES THERE. WE SHOULD THANK THESE PEOPLE FOR BUILDING A PLACE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE AND THE FREE WILLING TO HANG OUT.

bdr06
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bdr06 03/26/07 - 12:35 pm
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I worked at one the

I worked at one the hospitality houses on Magnolia Dr. during Master's week. It is a booming business hosting corporations like Hewlet Packard, CBS, AT&T, and Callowway Golf just to name a few. By hosting these large companies and well to put it frankly...kissing their butts, these houses are able to rake in the money. I was paid very well, but I too wonder how they have been able to go under the radar for so long.
It's not so easy to get in. You have to have a wristband AND They will stop you if you don't. They are nice places but highly over-rated. It costs about $1000 to eat there during the practice tournament. The new one they have built while very pretty is an eyesore where it is located as it stands far above all other houses and casts a shadow of wealth and stuck-upedness (if that's a word)!!! Oh well in less than 2 weeks they'll all be gone!!

Thor
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Thor 03/27/07 - 01:45 pm
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So these "houses" are

So these "houses" are allowed...but an apartment complex, which would have brought revenue to the city, was turned down....I think the National isn't the neighbors in this case...more like the landlords.....

georgiadawg1
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georgiadawg1 03/29/07 - 01:25 pm
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These large corporate

These large corporate hospitality homes on Magnolia and Azalea Drives near "The National" are owned and built by locals or sponsoring companies. They pay property taxes just like everyone else does and it is based on the value of their property for tax purposes just like they do any other property in town. The way that most of them get around the issues of tax on income earned during Masters is that someone lives in these homes YEAR ROUND. I know this for a fact in particular for one of the large corporate houses on Azalea, and I've heard it is the same for all of them. The very top floor of the home has a bedroom style area that someone "claims" to live in during the year and files as their primary residence for tax purposes with the county. Now, whether they actually stay there or not during the year is another issue, but I've heard that many do. This allows for these homes to not pay taxes on the money brought in during Masters from hosting hospitality events there. From what I understand a large hospitality company will build one of these homes and "sell" it to a local who will live there throughout they year but who really knows that the main purpose of the house is to be used one week in April each year as a corporate hospitality home. It's all really no different than the family in West Lake who rents their house out with 2-4 Masters tickets and pockets all the money TAX-FREE. This countries tax laws allow for it. The only differene is that while these corporate clients, or better yet their companies are paying $1,500-$3.500 for access to these homes for the week no one is sleeping there, they are just taking advantage of the hospitality services provided. Is it right? Probably not really, but in the scheme of things it is perfectly legal because it is not a permanent business set up in these homes, it is a residence that is used as a rental/business 1 week each year.

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