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» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | February 18, 2011 9:00 AM ET

Tavistock Group Acquires St. Regis Atlanta

(ATLANTA, GA.) -- The Orlando-based Tavistock Group announced Feb. 17 that it has acquired the 151-room St. Regis Hotel and the remaining 30 St. Regis Residences in Atlanta's exclusive Buckhead community. Tavistock Group acquired the property from a consortium of partners, some of whom were also the property's development team.

"We are thrilled to acquire the St. Regis property in Atlanta and believe it is a terrific asset in one of the Southeast's most prominent cities," said Tavistock's Douglas E. McMahon, a managing director of the diversified, privately-held investment company. "We believe Atlanta will continue to be a critically important economic and cultural center for the next several decades."

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage The St. Regis Atlanta, which has proven to be a successful partnership to date, recently recognized as the Buckhead Business of the Year by the Buckhead Business Association.

"Our group is interested in finding and acquiring more quality assets like the St. Regis, and my team currently is looking across the country for similar opportunities," said  Barry Goff, the managing director of diversified acquisitions for Tavistock Group.

Added McMahon: "The quality of the real estate asset and the City of Atlanta were driving factors for us, and we look forward to expanding our presence in Atlanta and introducing the resident owners of the St. Regis to the benefits of being a part of the Tavistock Group family."

Opened in April 2009, The St. Regis Atlanta was developed by the SR Hotel Development Company, LLLP, and has enjoyed notable success both as a hotel and a preferred residential address. The St. Regis Atlanta has established a new standard of quality for high-rise hospitality and living in the Southeast. The St. Regis Hotel was recently presented the 2011 AAA Five Diamond Award in lodging, 2011 AAA Four Diamond Award in restaurants for Paces 88 and the 2010 Hot List Award by Conde Nast Traveler. Twenty-three of the 53 St. Regis Residences already have been sold to a broad array of prominent community and business leaders from the city.

"We intend to be a hands-on, highly involved owner," added McMahon. "We will strive to make this the very best St. Regis hotel property and work to establish the St. Regis Residences at 88 West Paces Ferry as the most desirable address in the city of Atlanta."

Tavistock Group is an international private investment company founded by Joe Lewis. With investments in 250 companies across 15 countries, Tavistock Group's investment portfolio includes:  life sciences, professional sports team and sporting events, manufacturing and distribution, oil, gas and energy, financial services, restaurants, commercial properties, private luxury residential properties, resort properties and master-planned real estate developments.

Tavistock Group owns and has developed the renowned Isleworth and Lake Nona Golf & Country Clubs in Orlando, Fla., the luxury resort community of Albany in The Bahamas, and is currently building a 7,000-acre master-planned medical city in central Florida anchored by the new Nemours Children's Hospital, The Sanford-Burnham Institute, and The University of Central Florida's College of Medicine.

Combining timeless sophistication with an unrivaled dimension of luxury, The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences debuted April 14, 2009. The 26-floor development features 151 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, 53 St. Regis Residences, more than 16,000 square feet of contemporary meeting and event space, two exclusive bars, world-class culinary options, a state-of-the-art fitness facility that overlooks an exquisite 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza and poolside Bar, a 7,800-square-foot Remede Spa and Paces 88, the signature restaurant.

Combining classic sophistication and modern luxury, the St. Regis brand remains faithful to its commitment to excellence. Founded by John Jacob Astor IV, with the opening of the first St. Regis Hotel in New York City over a century ago, the St. Regis brand of hotels is known for its unique luxury dimension, customized service and refined elegance, in the best destinations worldwide. Future St. Regis projects are planned to open in Bal Harbour, Fla., Buenos Aires and the Riviera Maya in Mexico. In Asia, St. Regis has also announced plans to open hotels in Bangkok, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Sanya Yalong Bay and Tianjin. In Africa and the Middle East, the St. Regis brand will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Doha and Mauritius.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element (SM).  Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

Ritz-Carlton Announces New Project in Mexico

(SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO) -- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. announced an agreement Feb. 11 with a joint venture between Grupo Questro and Trinity Investments L.L.C. , for The Ritz-Carlton to operate a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to be developed as part of the Puerto Los Cabos master-planned resort community  in the popular tourist destination of Los Cabos, Mexico.

The scenic Mexican town will add new luster to the destination with the 2014 opening of the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve project in the country. Nestled along 800 feet of oceanfront along Mexico's Baja Peninsula, 124 private, single-story, oceanfront villas will each have breathtaking panoramic views across the Sea of Cortez in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Historic Los Cabos dates its legacy to the 16th century and the Spanish Conquistadors, but today is known as one of the most desirable vacation getaways in North America.

"We have looked at many sites in Mexico over the years, and believe the location at Los Cabos will offer our sophisticated travelers an exciting new place to explore and enjoy. It is an added pleasure to be working with our solid developers, Grupo Questro and Trinity Investments," said Herve Humler, president, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C.

"The concept of the resort is simple and yet exudes style and luxurious levels of comfort. It will provide a complete escape to the unexpected; a private, exclusive leisure experience that blends unique elements of the local culture, history, and heritage with intuitive individual service, exquisite indigenous design, casual ambiance, and respect for the surrounding environment."

Design inspiration for each Reserve is taken from the unique environment in which each property is based. From native architectural signatures and innovative local art, to indigenous furniture and motifs inspired by regional tradition, every design element of a Ritz-Carlton Reserve powerfully locates guests in a sense of place.

Eduardo Sanchez-Navarro, RT, CEO of Grupo Questro, said, "After a great deal of intensive work identifying the site and working on the feasibility and designs, we are delighted to have signed with The Ritz-Carlton as our management company of choice, a globally recognized luxury brand who will add tremendous value to the wonderful 30 acre site." 

He went on to add, "Every detail of the concept for the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand extension marries perfectly with the exclusive boutique retreat that we are creating. As the name suggests, it's something very special indeed, it's a limited edition, like a Reserve vintage."

The hotel will offer one, two and three-bedroom villas, each with private infinity plunge pools, outdoor terraces with intimate fireplaces, outdoor showers and butler service. Additional resort features and amenities within the Puerto Los Cabos mixed-use development include a world-class Spa, Desert Botanical Theme Park, Fisherman's Wharf, a 500-slip marina, two private championship golf courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus & Greg Norman and proximity to the town of San Jose del Cabo and the airport.

In addition, the construction of a five-star caliber luxury resort in Mexico will bring jobs to Los Cabos, both during the construction phase and once the resort commences operations.  The economic impact of a Ritz-Carlton Reserve provides long term benefits to the area and local citizens, and will help to enhance the reputation of Los Cabos as an exclusive destination for international tourists.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. of Chevy Chase, Md., operates 74 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Over 30 projects are under development around the globe including future Ritz-Carlton Reserve openings in The United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and a second in Thailand to join Phulay Bay in Krabi.

Honolulu, Hawaii-based Trinity Investments, LLC ("Trinity") is an international real estate investment company. Its investment focus is primarily in hospitality/resort assets in Hawaii and Mexico, and commercial real estate in Japan. Since its predecessor company was first formed in 1996, Trinity and its affiliates have acquired and developed over $4 billion in real estate assets and companies, including hotels, office buildings, apartments, retail centers, and asset management and hotel management companies.

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