During a 1993 holiday to Italy, the Brown family visited the quaint coastal village of Portofino. Upon their return, they brought back with them a vision of what they wanted to do with this parcel of land.Their vision was to create the finest golf and boat community in the Midwest, with a subtle Mediterranean theme. Porto Cima — roughly translated "Hillside by the Harbor" — was born.

Although the property was very primitive, development began and utilities were soon brought in. A relationship with Jack Nicklaus began and the construction of Missouri's only 18-hole waterfront Jack Nicklaus signature golf course commenced.

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