Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE:RHP) announced today that it has acquired a 35 percent equity ownership stake in the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center project in Aurora, Colorado, with an expected aggregate investment of approximately $86 million.
RIDA Development Corp. and Ares Management, L.P. are leading the owner and development partnership and Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) will manage the hotel and convention center. The property is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in late 2018. Under the terms of our agreement, RIDA will continue in its role as managing partner and developer. Today’s announcement represents a minority stake by Ryman Hospitality Properties and has no effect on the project’s previously announced scope, design, budget, timing, development team or hotel management.
RIDA and Ares previously announced the closing of a $500 million construction loan in December of 2015 to develop the 1,500 room resort hotel with over 485,000 square feet of exhibition, meeting, pre-function and outdoor space, eight food and beverage outlets, a $25 million waterpark, and other high quality amenities. Located less than ten minutes from the Denver International Airport, one of the most well-traveled and accessible airports in the world, and 25 minutes from downtown Denver, the resort will be ideally situated for both business and leisure travelers.
Colin Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties, said, “We have always been strong believers in the development of a Gaylord Hotels branded property in Colorado, which we consistently hear from meeting planners and customers is one of the most desirable tourist and business travel destinations in the United States. Further, we know the dynamics necessary for this type of hotel to succeed better than anyone – and we are confident that a resort of this caliber, in a highly strategic western location bearing the distinguished Gaylord Hotels brand, will appeal to new customers as well as existing group customers who rotate through the Gaylord network. We are also encouraged by the lack of new competitive supply of hotels with more than 1,000 rooms slated to open in the foreseeable future.”
Reed continued, “This investment provides us with the right vehicle by which to make a strategic, long-term investment in a project that we are confident will bring a strong return for our shareholders, without having the full development cost on our company’s balance sheet. In addition, we are partnering with a best-in-class group of hospitality and development experts: RIDA, Ares and Marriott.”
RIDA Development Corp CEO Ira Mitzner said, “We are pleased to welcome Ryman Hospitality into the project. Their synergistic expertise as owners of the four existing Gaylord Hotels will greatly inure to the benefit of the Gaylord Rockies.”
Mike Stengel, senior vice-president of Gaylord Hotels, added, “We are pleased for Ryman Hospitality Properties to join the owner partnership for Gaylord Rockies. They have been supportive partners since the Gaylord Hotels brand joined the Marriott portfolio in October of 2012, and this new collaboration will strengthen both the Rockies project as well as our partnership going forward.”
Lee Neibart, chairman of the Ares Real Estate Group, said, "We are pleased to welcome Ryman to this project, especially since it has significant expertise in owning and operating Gaylord properties. We are excited about the knowledge and resources that it will bring to the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center.”
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP) is a REIT for federal income tax purposes, specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. The Company’s owned assets include a network of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 7,795 rooms that are managed by lodging operator Marriott International, Inc. under the Gaylord Hotels brand. Other owned assets managed by Marriott International, Inc. include Gaylord Springs Golf Links, the Wildhorse Saloon, the General Jackson Showboat, The Inn at Opryland, a 303-room overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland and AC Hotel Washington, DC at National Harbor, a 192-room hotel near Gaylord National. The Company also owns and operates media and entertainment assets, including the Grand Ole Opry (opry.com), the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for 90 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; and 650 AM WSM, the Opry’s radio home.
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