CNL-AB LLC announced today that it has acquired the equity interests in a portfolio of eight iconic U.S. resort properties with over 5,500 guest rooms known as MS Resorts. The eight properties are Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, La Quinta Resort and Club and PGA West, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Claremont Resort and Spa, Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, JW Marriott Grande Lakes, and JW Marriott Desert Ridge. CNL-AB LLC is a joint venture consisting of affiliates of Paulson & Co. Inc., a joint venture affiliated with Winthrop Realty Trust, and affiliates of Capital Trust, Inc. The joint venture acquired the portfolio through a foreclosure proceeding on January 28, 2011. In conjunction with the acquisition, CNL-AB LLC completed a comprehensive restructuring at the corporate level, resulting in the effective elimination of $800 million of debt and preferred equity, an important step in the overall recapitalization of the Company's assets. Following the acquisition, five of the resorts with mortgage debt scheduled to mature today were filed for Chapter 11 protection with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by the Paulson and Winthrop joint venture affiliates. The resorts subject to the filings are Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, La Quinta Resort and Club and PGA West, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, and Claremont Resort and Spa. This filing provides the new owner with the opportunity to further restructure the Company's debt at the property level and to improve operations during a time of recovering fundamentals in the hospitality industry.
The filing does not involve the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, JW Marriott Grande Lakes, or JW Marriott Desert Ridge, which are currently controlled by Capital Trust, Inc. and its affiliates.
These events have no impact on the management, staff or operations of the resorts, which will continue to provide the same uninterrupted level of luxury service and experience to guests, resort members and other customers, and remain committed to their local communities. In addition, Pyramid Hotel Group will continue to act as asset manager for the eight resorts, providing continuity to the operation and management for all stakeholders in the portfolio.
Michael Barr, Portfolio Manager at Paulson & Co. Inc., said, 'We and our partners are excited to be owners of some of the world's most desirable resorts and look forward to providing new sponsorship to maximize the value of these irreplaceable assets.'