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The 182-room resort is situated in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Under the agreement, Great Wolf Resorts also paid $2.5 million to the City of Sheboygan, thereby getting rid of all obligations under the terms of its original agreements with the City. The obligations of minimum guaranteed amounts of room tax payments were scheduled to be made through 2028, and real and personal property tax payments through 2018. The carrying value of the liabilities associated with those minimum payment obligations was $11.6 million as of December 31, 2010.
The sale of Blue Harbor Resort is part of Great Wolf Resorts’ long-term strategy to strengthen financial flexibility, which in turn will help it grow through management and licensing arrangements instead of direct ownership of real estate. It also maximizes shareholder value. A higher concentration of franchise fees reduces earnings volatility and provides a more stable growth profile.
Since late 2010, mergers and acquisitions have gained a momentum in thehotels and REIT industry. According to a recent research report by Jones Lang, a financial and professional services company specializing in real estate, hotel sales and acquisitions as well as new deals will increase to 25% in 2011 in the Americas. Jones Lang further anticipated that Hotel transaction volume would total approximately $13.0 billion in 2011.
Following the industry trend, in mid-January, Red Lion Hotels Corporation ( RLH - Snapshot Report ) announced its plan to put its Seattle and Denver based hotels up for sale. Red Lion intended to unlock real estate value through selective disposition of asset ownership and to use the sale proceeds to restructure the balance sheet. In early-March, Red Lion again planned its Helena-based hotel to offer for sale.
Another hotelier, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. ( HOT - Analyst Report ) also embarked on an asset light model. Starwood remains committed to reducing its exposure to owned real estate and timeshare businesses. During its third quarter, Starwood sold one St. Regis Aspen in accordance with a long-term management contract for gross proceeds of $70 million.
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