The Real Deal Miami

Bellissimo completes purchase of International Polo Club: $72M

Previous owner had been jailed for a DUI manslaughter in 2012
By Sean Stewart-Muniz | May 03, 2016 03:30PM

The International Polo Club's stadium area

The International Polo Club’s stadium area

Mark Bellissimo’s Wellington Equestrian Partners has closed on its purchase of the International Polo Club for $72 million.

The deal was first announced by Bellissimo’s group in March without a disclosed price. Wellington Equestrian had entered into a contract to buy the troubled International Polo Club and some surrounding properties for a total of 248 acres.

Now, county records show Wellington Equestrian paid $290,322 per acre for the land at 3665-7 South 120th Avenue, 12560-12800 South 35th Street, and 12991-12995 Via Christina.

Wellington polo mogul John Goodman had purchased the club in 2002 when the future of the village’s polo culture was uncertain. Under his stead, he molded the International Polo Club into a marquee destination for competitions and events.

That track record was marred in 2012 when Goodman was convicted of manslaughter after killing 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson while driving under the influence. His family’s trust took control of the club and several other properties shortly after.

While Goodman began his 16-year sentence, his family trust began offloading several of its Wellington holdings, including the Wanderer’s Club golf, tennis and polo center at 1900 Aero Club Drive, which was sold to Bellissimo for $7 million.

Now, the family’s prized holding is in new hands. Wellington Equestrian Partners, which also the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, will now operate the International Polo Club. Bellissimo has already solidified a relationship with the U.S. Polo Association to hold tournaments at the club until 2018 and will likely extend its agreement in the future.

“We are honored to have been selected by the Goodman family trust to steward this venue into what will now be a very bright the future. We thank them for their faith in our organization,” Bellissimo said in a statement at the time of the original announcement. “With the shroud of uncertainty that has plagued the venue and the event, our partnership wanted to ensure that IPC was going to be protected as a long term venue for polo and other equestrian sports which is key to Wellington’s economy.”