Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sawgrass Resort Pressing on; despite Chapter 11 Case, Operations Are "Consistent," GM Says

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sawgrass Resort Pressing on; despite Chapter 11 Case, Operations Are "Consistent," GM Says

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BASCH

Last week, just one day after the PGA Tour completed a tournament at the Sea Island resort in Georgia, a deal was reached to sell the property and resolve its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

But as the Nationwide Tour brings a golf tournament this week to the TPC Sawgrass club in Ponte Vedra Beach, a resolution to the Chapter 11 case of the neighboring Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa is likely months away.

Sawgrass Marriott's owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and its reorganization plan is in limbo over a dispute between the resort's owner and its major lender over the value of the property.

The resort's facilities include a hotel with 348 guest rooms and three restaurants, golf villas with 160 rooms and a beach club with three restaurants. The PGA Tour's TPC Sawgrass golf club is not part of the resort, but Sawgrass Marriott is an exclusive partner to the golf club, giving resort guests access to the golf courses.

Sawgrass Marriott General Manager Jeff Mayers said the Chapter 11 case doesn't seem to be having an impact on the level of business or the level of service.

"The resort's operations have been very consistent," he said.

The resort is owned by two Irish investment partnerships called RQB Resort LP and RQB Development LP. They bought Sawgrass Marriott for $220 million in 2006 with financing from Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Co. and still owe $193 million to the lender.

But after the recession, the property is now worth far less than the loan amount. Just how much less has been a subject of a bitter court fight between RQB and Goldman Sachs. And until that matter is settled, the Chapter 11 case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Jacksonville cannot be resolved, RQB says.

"It's a complex asset to value," said Stephen Busey, a Jacksonville attorney representing RQB.

"Once the court determines what the hotel is worth, then we can propose a [reorganization] plan," he said. …

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