The up and coming Infinity Retreat!
Here's what's up and coming! Still looking for an investor though!! Interested? If yes, read below!
Enjoy the video!...
Mission Statement and Executive Summary:
Hi Friend! I have envisioned the Infinity Retreat for many years, and the span of my career and life path have prepared me to move forward with bringing this into fruition.
Currently I am the owner and operator of Infinity Greens, a supplement business that began in 2006. This is a line of 17 of my own health products, including a published book, that I developed while working at The Ashram health retreat from 2004 to 2013. Since then I have grown Infinity Greens to be the successful business that it is today, serving many thousands of people.
In tandem with Infinity Greens, I have hosted health retreats in Taos, New Mexico and Nepal since 2018. Infinity Greens and the satellite retreat programs are now self-sustaining, allowing me to direct my full attention to the development of the Infinity Retreat center, here in North Carolina.
With the support of my team below, we will be building a retreat center in the southern Appalachian mountains, just outside of Asheville, NC. The retreat is for a variety of programs catering to the natural health and personal development market, a robust and growing market in this area of the country.
The aim is for this retreat to have world-class influence within the lives of thousands and for many generations to come–leaving a legacy and a comparable reputation. The increasing value of the market, combined with my passion for providing such services, is why I am pursuing the development of the retreat.
Currently I am doing all the preparatory work it takes to make this a success across the board - in terms of service, profitability, and making a difference in the world.
During the preparatory and creation phase, my role will be to oversee all building projects, land improvements, staff hiring and training, and team development. Initially, I plan to live on the property to oversee all production. My role will expand during the operational phase to include checking in with all staff on a weekly basis for preserving the quality of all services and facilitating the opening and closing of all programs.
I am excited to share that I have secured under contract 75 acres of superior quality bordered on Cedar Creek in the Appalachian mountains (forty five minutes east from Asheville). My team (listed below) and I have determined the property to be an ideal fit for the Infinity Retreat. The quality and location of the property truly make it invaluable, as you will see in the video tour.
I also welcome and encourage you to come see the land yourself. I believe you will better understand my excitement for, and commitment to, this opportunity.
Property Address: 2150 Cedar Creek, Lake Lure, NC 28746
I will share that the seller of the property previously declined sixteen offers (each of which were very strong, relative to the asking price) making this contract an exceptional success.
Sketch by architect, Frank Venning:
I’ll do what it takes to find the right people - the superior staff for superior operations.
- Billy Merritt: CEO and Retreat Leader. Graduate of Prescott College with over 22 years of Outdoor Education experience, owner and founder of Infinity Greens (Est. 2006), and Certified EMT
- Frank Venning - Design Architect, with Masters in Design Studies from Harvard University and Masters in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute
- Fred Grogan - Landscape Architect
- Builder TBD
- Project manager TBD. This is someone I will follow day and night, both to learn how to do what they are doing and make sure they provide excellent services.
- Marketing Consultant - TBD
- Financial Advisor - TBD
- Independent contractors for operations and maintenance TBD. Asheville has a healthy workforce for finding top-quality labor and services. And I am well connected with people who are active in the resort, hospitality, and healing arts - that are aware of the opportunity at the upcoming Infinity Retreat.
- Chris Madison: Co-founder of the globally recognised, multiple award winning AroHa Wellness Retreat in New Zealand
- Amy Swick: Real estate planner, Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture, Certificate in Finance from Princeton University, Master of Science degree in Real Estate from MIT
- Michael Swick: Vice President of Operations, H. J. Russell & Company, holds degrees in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, and is a LEED accredited professional and previously served as the president of the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia.
- Lisa Varno: M.M.Ed., Certified Integrative Health Coach and MBSR Instructor, trained at Duke Integrative Medicine, UMass Medical School, and Brown University
Phase 1 - secure the real estate. (Phase 2 development below)
$1.5 million for the property (I put down $12,000 earnest money, and I can put in a total of $100,000)
- Plus an estimated $100,000 for renovations of the house that’s already there. Overall the house is in good condition. I can imagine myself living in the house during the one or two years that most of the retreat developments will be happening. Naturally this is a period that I will spend the majority of my time on the property.
- And $20,000 for land improvements plus land survey to prep for upcoming developments. Part of the improvements will be junk removal. It’s not bad, but there is old farm equipment that will need to go including a dump truck and school bus.
There is a bridge to enter the property. I was informed that it’s rated to twenty tons. I’m scheduling an engineer to check that for early September - will update once the date is confirmed. A replacement bridge was quoted to be approximately $100k; however, we’ll see what’s needed in due time.
There is also an entrance at the north end of the property that is fit for hauling heavy materials like gravel and concrete into the property.
There is a good quality backhoe on the property that will be included in the purchase.
- Note - approx $3400 annual for property taxes.
The reason time is of the essence: I signed the contract on May 18 with 90 days of due diligence.
Property closing date is August 16 by which we need property secured.
Pre-closing / due diligence tasks:
- County zoning analysis - no zoning for the property is confirmed
- Survey -
- Steve Higley at Kudzu Survey Associates (828) 689-8770 (left voicemail ⅞)
- John Terry, 828-289-2727, 828-288-0008 (waiting for return call 7/8)
- Title search - Joseph Hurwtiz 828-777-2619 (left voicemail)
- Engineering for bridge: email@example.com Scheduling for September
Phase 2: 2022-2024
Retreat and land development.
Goal: Have the main house up and running in one year.
Estimated costs, $5,000,000 - $10,000,000 - I look forward to evaluating options with you. The more we thoughtfully invest, the more awesomeness we manifest. We can also map out the two, three, and four year plan (and so on).
[DRAFT, will be vetted as we go] (last updated 7/7/22)
** Note this is a DRAFT/OUTLINE– this will be vetted with the project manager who has expertise with NOI.
Primary house attributes: (Sketch will be completed mid-July by architect Frank Venning. The land was toured with Frank on 7/29.)
- One main house as centerpiece: proposed structure will have the feeling of being resourceful and eco, all on ground level.
- Decks, pavilions, and outdoor gathering areas.
- Seven bedrooms with outdoor access to host a total of fourteen people
- Dining area, fit for forty six people to accommodate guests staying at the guest houses and glamping sites in addition to the main house.
- Outdoor dining pavilion to accommodate up to 100 for larger summer retreats.
- Yoga hall fit for fifty people.
- ‘Infinity Pool’ - the pool will be a special attraction. The vision with Frank the architect is that the pool will be a central feature in front of the main house lined up with the southern long-distance view.
- Four guests houses /studio to accommodate up to 16 total
- Three yurts fit to accommodate up to two people with one queen bed = total of 8. Yurts are attractive to the natural health market and are very cost efficient.
- Four Glamping sites (seasonal, April - October) to accommodate two people = total of 8. Glamping (‘luxury’ camping accommodations) is also attractive to the retreat’s market, and, like the yurts, is very cost efficient.
- A note about Glamping and the future of Infinity Retreat: There is plenty of property to eventually have at least forty glamping sites. Glamping is popular in the market that Infinity Retreat will be catering to. The cost efficiency of glamping for the retreat is part of how the retreat will expand its clientele to accommodate a moderate-budget market. I see this being the younger health enthusiasts in their twenties and thirties. This is a market that I want for the retreat to be financially accessible. These are the people to bring onboard in their younger years, ultimately to be life-long customers at the Infinity Retreat. Naturally this expands our market.
Full house between main house, guest houses, yurts, and glamping will be approx 50 guests.
Additional accommodations can be built for years to come. Based on demand. There is plenty of land to build much more. See video.
- Note - Current ‘staff house’ is fit to host 6 staff.
Additionally there is adequate space for camping to accommodate larger programs and retreats. Based on available parking on the property, my estimate is the property is fit to host up to 2000 people.
A bath house is something to consider as an adjunct to the retreat pool, based on the scale of growth.
Relative to the pool can be an attraction with some ‘spa’ and ‘spa-treatment characteristics like a sauna and massage.
Additional developments (see video for tour):
- Large pond in the floodplain near Cedar Creek for ambience.
- Refurbishing of the pond near the staff house.
- Gravel parking area fit for fifty cars. Overflow parking will be in the south field, fit for at least five hundred cars.
- Foot trail development - currently one mile, target four miles: Add-on low-cost properties to the north for more trails and land development for gathering areas for outdoor classes, yoga, and group activities.
- Ongoing agriculture and land development for the northern field (30+ acres). Organic farm, pond, pavilion for group activities.
- Solar energy: the climate and excellent sun exposure of the property makes solar energy a practical addition. Solar development could offer the potential to be off-grid if this ever becomes an intention.
- Passive solar energy for the main house and guest houses as they will be south-facing.
Organic farm/agriculture - This will be part of what will expand the reputation of the retreat.
Additional activities and income streams:
- Agricultural education courses
- Farm-to-table events
- Health festivals
- Hosting college courses & community workshops
- Hosting interns
- Host corporate retreats and trainings
- The agricultural programs will be about much more than just growing food. The big part of it will be herbology and mycology education for healing medicinal plants. Both for cultivation and science. Naturally this is a fit for the retreat since a big part of the theme is sustainability - for both what we teach as well as for the retreat itself.
- Approximately 60 acres of the property are pasture with excellent soil quality. This wouldn’t necessarily be 60 acres of farming. A large portion will be tailored for ambience which will take minimal effort to begin since it’s already in good shape.
- Cedar Creek access: Clearing brush from around the trees near Cedar Creek since the creek itself will be a big part of the retreat’s attraction.
- A solid greenhouse. Abundant expert resources for this in Asheville
Primary income streams:
1 - The retreat will host a variety of programs including health retreats for hiking, fitness, yoga, nutrition with health coaches, health practitioners, dieticians. A model that I have seen work very well is a one week program that includes a combination of all of the above activities and services. Attendance between eleven and twenty participants is what I have experienced to be the ‘sweet spot’. Cost per person could be between $2000 and $6000 depending on level of accommodations and services. See below.
2 - Rent/cater to other health leaders to host retreats. This is a strong market. There are many health practitioners searching to book out retreats of this very nature, for their own programs. One of the bonuses is these health leaders would essentially be bringing us new prospective clients who would return in the future on their own accord. Another bonus is I already share many connections with health leaders due to my years of experience with Infinity Greens. Many leaders and health practitioners have been using my products and sharing them with their clients; so there is naturally already a sense of trust with these high influence people.
Spreadsheet Link: Development costs, NOI, return on costs [DRAFT, will be vetted as we go] (last updated 7/7/22)
- Note: The amounts are estimates and will be vetted as we get started. This is something I look forward to deciding on with the investor (you).
Extra income streams:
- Weddings $10,000+
- Vacation rental of the guest house
- Festivals - $TBD by size, duration and services we render.
- I plan to host at least two weekend festivals per year, and the cost-sales-profit is relative to the scale of services. This is information I will provide as we go. The Infinity Festivals will include a variety of workshops hosted by teachers, health practitioners, and leaders in the natural health movement. Music would also be part of it which is naturally a part of any great festival. Tickets would mostly be between $200-$400, and attendance is possible for up to two thousand people. Solid festivals will be excellent income.
- There will be day events too. Ticket prices will vary significantly. Some events may even be free for special services and brand exposure.
- In essence there will be a variety of events and scale of accommodations (see to offer services to different markets and income brackets.
Keys to successful production and promotion:
- Asheville is an epicenter for expertise labor for land development, as well as health practitioners, natural health teachers, and leaders in the healing arts. These are the people that will be a brilliant fit for their own retreats that we will host.
- My years working at the Ashram (2004-2013), one of the most prestigious and highly reputed health retreats in the world. The Ashram is where I began building my customer base.
- I also have a customer base from Infinity Greens growing since 2006. And clients from previous health retreats I have hosted in Taos, New Mexico and Nepal.
- Personal connections with other leaders in the natural health movement. These are the people that I talked about above. Note - a plus is that catering to their followings during their retreats will expand our own customer base.
- Target audience is the southeastern US. But we can absolutely become a large attraction from all over the country. Let alone the world. Seriously.
- Number of tourists in Asheville and southern Appalachia for the hottest health and wellness market in the southeast - Asheville is already seen to be a mecca for retreats - the irony being that only very little, comparable to what we are creating, even exists. Thus minimal to no competition. The Art of Living retreat in Boone three hours north is in a different category entirely since they don’t have the paradise land that we do. Nor the easy access to excellent hiking right out the back door and in the surrounding areas.
- Longer grow-season, relative to Asheville: Old Fort and the retreat property are at 1,447’ elevation. Asheville is 2,134’. This difference makes a notable difference in the temperatures. I’ve been watching the weather patterns and Old Fort is on average six degrees warmer than Asheville. (Rainfall appears to be comparable) This is big in terms of growing season. And comfort of the guests for outdoor activities since Asheville can be cold in the winter. Another advantage of 2150 is there is a balance of both shade and sun exposure which will also be important for helping preserve a longer “tourist season”. See the drone video for comparison.
* The neighboring town of Old Fort is less than ten miles from the retreat. (Got a genius friend I’d be happy to introduce to you who foresees Old Fort to become the ‘Boulder, Colorado’ of the east. This friend may very well be an excellent person to work with for retreat development - a conversation we can have in due time.)
Commute and travel times for effective accessibility:
Driving from Asheville and nearby locations is relatively easy, and the retreat is also easy to find. But not conspicuous either. It has a feeling of being very private.
- Easy commute from Old Fort (20 mins), Black Mountain (30mins), and Asheville (45mins).
- Asheville Airport is a 55 minute drive, 31 miles through the mountains. There are two solid routes.
- Atlanta is three hours and thirty minutes. Atlanta will be a stong market.
- Lake Lure is a fifteen minute drive and makes for a day-trip for water recreation: Paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming - activities that will build into activities of some of the programs.
There is efficient driving access to many premier hiking destinations from 2150. (I’ll show you maps of the many nearby trails when we meet. Or I can give a virtual tour over Zoom) Hiking will be a fundamental and strongly promoted part of the Infinity Retreat programs.
Reasons 2150 (and the retreat) can be ‘recession resistant’
- The biggest factor is demand for high quality real estate, like 2150.
- North Carolina is the ninth fastest growing state in the US.
- Within the state, Asheville is among fastest growing cities. Asheville continues to draw people to relocate, especially since the beginning of the pandemic during which there was a spike in the population growth throughout western Appalachia. Current Asheville population is 93,000. State projection is 297,000 for 2030 - a ways out, but not long relative to the potential lifespan of the retreat.
- The natural health and wellness market, specifically in this region, is increasing.
- Also the tourist industry in Asheville is growing, relatively fast. Always has been. People come for the mountains, scenery, quaintness, and the artist culture.
- Satellite cities include Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, Louisville, and Nashville, from where Asheville’s fast-growing tourism business is coming.
Similar Retreat Models:
- Art of living retreat center
- Omega Institute
- The Ashram
Thank you again for reviewing the Infinity Retreat business plan. I look forward to speaking with you to answer any further questions.