Fort Myers, FL (September 28, 2010) — Two highly respected powerhouse companies in hospitality development and management with a string of successful and prestigious high-end properties have formed a joint venture to take advantage of unusually attractive buying opportunities in today’s hospitality industry.
The Mariner Group and The Harp Group, along with its sister corporation Portfolio Hotels & Resorts, have recently formed Meritage Hospitality Group (MHG) to acquire selected hotel and resort properties with the purpose of renovating and repositioning them … but with a unique twist. The repositioning will be achieved by converting a portion of the rooms to shared ownership units and/or developing additional shared ownership units on land adjacent to the hotel or resort property. A strategic component of the business model includes a marketing, sales and management alliance with existing points-based multi-site vacation ownership club programs.
Explains Meritage principal Allen G. Ten Broek, “Shared ownership is now a proven and solid component of the hospitality industry. It has continued to experience market demand and sales success even during current economic conditions. We are confident that the addition of this real estate component and the sale of a portion of shared ownership interests in these properties will dramatically increase their financial success as well as investment returns. Our business plan has been well received in capital markets, enabling us to move forward with several acquisitions in the near future.”
Meritage Hospitality Group (www.meritagehospitalitygroup.com) will utilize traditional hotel and resort turnaround programs as they acquire and enhance properties. They will also invest in needed capital improvements and implement new strategies to improve an asset’s operating profit. Key to their success is the selection of the right type and location of properties and integrating the shared ownership component with ongoing hotel operations. Ten Broek cautions that only a properly capitalized company like MHG, supported by an experienced, creative, and focused management team can be successful at executing this unique business plan.
The Meritage Hospitality Group partners include The Mariner Group and The Harp Group.
Founded in 1971 by Allen G. Ten Broek and Robert M. Taylor and headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, The Mariner Group (www.themarinergroup.com) was one of the early U.S. timeshare developers, ultimately developing 16 Florida resorts. The company successfully combined hospitality, shared ownership, and other real estate programs in Florida and the Bahamas including its 50/50 joint venture with Hilton Hotels Corporation to form and operate Hilton Grand Vacations Company, a major shared ownership development, marketing, sales, and management company. (Mariner subsequently sold its JV interest to Hilton.) Through its Mariner Advisory Group affiliate, formed in 2003, the same principals now provide a variety of services to real estate projects on behalf of their investors and lenders, including real estate restructuring and turnaround services, financial and transaction services, development management, real estate marketing and sales, and property management services.
Hotel investment and development company, The Harp Group (www.theharpgroup.com), and hotel management company, Portfolio Hotels & Resorts (www.portfoliohotels.com) are headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois. Harp founder and President Peter G. Dumon and EVP Timothy G. Franzen have significant expertise in investment analysis, deal structuring, financing, asset management, turnaround strategic planning, and development and construction management. They will evaluate prospective acquisitions and execute the hospitality turnaround component of the Meritage business plan. Portfolio’s principals are President Helmut Horn and COO Graham Hershman, both company co-founders and highly skilled at improving properties with performance enhancement programs.
Added Meritage principal Peter Dumon, “We anticipate that the next two years will see significant increases in restructurings, foreclosures, and distressed sales of hospitality properties as owners and lenders come to grips with the realities of the new economy. This translates to a significant opportunity for the acquisition and value enhancement of existing hotel and resort properties. By including a shared ownership real estate component, we are creating opportunities for everyone involved, including investors.”
About Mariner Advisory Group
During nearly three decades since it was founded, The Mariner Group’s principal focus has been on second home vacation condominiums, resort hotels, and shared ownership projects. The company pioneered the concept of cost-effective marketing and selling of shared ownership products through its hotel properties beginning at its South Seas Plantation Resort on Captiva Island, Florida in 1975 and ultimately developed, marketed and sold over 1,000 shared ownership condominiums. Mariner later teamed with Hilton Hotels to take this concept nationwide in the early 1990s, resulting in with large projects in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. In 1998 Mariner sold its ten-property resort hotel portfolio to MeriStar Hospitality, a publically traded REIT as well as its 50% interest in the Hilton Grand Vacations Company. Since then, it focused on a property in the Bahamas and expanding Robb & Stucky, its Florida based high-end furniture retailer to Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
About The Harp Group and Portfolio Hotels & Resorts
The Harp Group was founded in 1997 to capitalize on value creation opportunities in U.S. real estate with a special focus on hotel/hospitality. Harp has acquired or developed ten hotels with over 3,000 rooms including the 802-room SheratonLAX and the 556-room InterContinental Chicago O’Hare.
Portfolio Hotels & Resorts (a sister company to The Harp Group) manages high quality hotels and resorts (branded and independent) for The Harp Group and individual and institutional owners. The company currently employs over 3,000 associates and manages 14 hotels with over 3,800 rooms from coast to coast in the U.S.
For Additional Information
Contact Al Ten Broek at 239-481-2011