Kathleen Taylor, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
our Seasons Hotels and Resorts has entered into a joint venture with Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners to develop a 444-room luxury resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. Construction is set to begin on what will be the largest Four Seasons resort in the world this December, with a target opening date in 2014.
“Four Seasons had the unique opportunity to purchase a fantastic site at the Walt Disney World Resort,” says Kathleen Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Then, we partnered with Silverstein and Dune, some of the world’s most astute players in real estate to develop the project, which enabled financial commitments to be secured and the project to move forward. We are also delighted to work with The Walt Disney Company, which shares our vision for a family vacation experience unlike any other.”
Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hotel brand, acquired the land from Disney in August 2008, and will retain a 30 percent ownership interest in the project in addition to operating the resort.
Four Seasons has been working closely with New York-based Silverstein Properties, one of the nation’s most respected real estate development, ownership and management organisations, since July 2009. Silverstein advanced the design and master plan for the new resort in consultation with Four Seasons, including acquiring necessary approvals, assembling and directing architectural and engineering teams, and negotiating the construction contract with Turner Construction. This effort enabled financing to be secured.
“We are very pleased to be working with Four Seasons on this exciting project,” says Larry Silverstein, president and CEO, Silverstein Properties, which will continue to oversee resort development and construction. “It’s a great design in a great location, and we’ve assembled a great team who are going to make this resort a reality in a few short years.”
New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners, a highly regarded real estate private equity fund led by Daniel Neidich, is the majority investor.
“The opportunity to partner with Silverstein and Four Seasons, both distinguished leaders in their respective fields, has given us the confidence to make a significant investment in a new development,” says Neidich. “This is an irreplaceable asset - a rare opportunity in a remarkable location, with a prestigious brand that we believe will provide attractive returns to our investors for many years to come.”
Mexico City-based Grupo Financiero Inbursa has agreed to provide USD 190 million in construction financing for the project. Grupo Financiero Inbursa is one of the largest banks in Mexico, and this is their second large construction loan in the US.
“Four Seasons continues to seek out innovative partnerships with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our vision,” says Scott Woroch, executive vice president, worldwide development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Despite the difficult financing environment brought on by the global economic downturn in the last few years, the development concept we created with our partners for this unique site attracted debt and equity sponsorship, and is now moving forward.”