Partner for a 500 room Hyatt Destination Resort
Being Developed Near Austin, Texas
|AUSTIN/BASTROP, Texas - March 17, 2004 -- A
656-acre site between Austin and Bastrop, Texas, has been purchased for
a major destination resort hotel, golf course and full-service spa to be
operated by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts of Chicago, it was confirmed today
by officials of Woodbine Development Corporation of Dallas, the project's
managing general partner. Woodbine acquired the property from the Lower
Colorado River Authority (LCRA), a Texas conservation and reclamation district,
which owns and operates a nature park adjacent to the property.
Affiliates of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., (CIRI) of Anchorage, Alaska; The Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO) of Oklahoma City; and Hyatt Corporation of Chicago have joined Woodbine as investment partners in the project.
"This will be our third resort project with Woodbine," said Mark Kroloff, CIRI's chief operating officer. "We have a great deal of confidence in Woodbine's development expertise, and we have researched the Austin area market with them. We believe the resort site's adjacency to the McKinney Roughs Nature Park will make this a one-of-a-kind project and one that is well-suited to our portfolio."
OPUBCO has been in the resort and hospitality industries for more than 20 years. It also owns the Broadmoor Hotel and Spa in Colorado Springs and formerly owned the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
"We have been looking to add another successful resort project to our portfolio and have been reviewing the Texas market for some time. We are excited about the Austin area as a destination and the quality of our partners," said Christy Everest, OPUBCO's chairman and CEO.
The resort will be built on 405 acres of the 656-acre site, which is approximately three miles north of State Highway 71, with the remaining land set aside for future uses yet to be determined. The site, which has almost one mile of Colorado River frontage, is adjacent to the north side of the LCRA's 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Woodbine and LCRA have created access and use agreements that will provide mutually beneficial amenities to guests of both the resort and the nature park.
"In 2000, LCRA's Board of Directors decided that we would sell this tract to a developer who could create a recreational venue that would be complementary to our McKinney Roughs project," said Joseph J. Beal, LCRA's general manager and chief executive officer. "We're extremely pleased to have this Woodbine project as our neighbor, and we're excited about the economic development and tourism opportunities that this project will bring to the Texas Colorado River and to Bastrop County. We have gone to great lengths in working with Woodbine to ensure that the natural character of McKinney Roughs and the river at this location will continue to be protected."
The destination resort project will be similar in scope to the Woodbine-developed Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, which opened in San Antonio in 1993.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to build and operate a Hyatt resort in this exclusive area. We are thrilled to be working with Woodbine and their fine partners on what will no doubt be a beautiful hotel property for business and leisure guests alike," said Edward Rabin, president, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
The Austin/Bastrop resort includes a 500-room hotel; an 18-hole golf course; a full-service spa; extensive water features, including a man-made river pool alongside the property's Colorado River frontage and its associated canoeing and fishing opportunities; multiple food and beverage outlets; hiking and equestrian trails; and Hyatt's trademarked services, such as Camp Hyatt for kids and Regency Club. Additionally, the property will have more than 50,000 square feet of indoor function space and numerous outdoor event venues.
"The site itself is magical," said John Scovell, Woodbine's president and chief executive officer. "It affords us an opportunity to blend the regional flavors of Austin and Bastrop with the already established nature-based activities offered at McKinney Roughs into a distinctive destination. We've described our site as being at the crossroads of nature and history, because it is rich in both. Our challenge will be to protect and enhance this site for the enjoyment of guests worldwide."
Scovell noted that Woodbine's original interest in Austin was triggered with the opening of the new Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which is only 13 miles from the resort site on Highway 71.
"We held several focus groups among meeting planners, and they were very supportive of the site, not only because of its incredible beauty but because it is so easy to get to," Scovell said, explaining that approximately 65 percent of the resort's business will come from the group meetings market.
Hyatt Development Corporation will provide technical assistance and development services to the project, with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts assuming the role of resort operator when the property opens in approximately two years from the project's construction start.
"We will be making an announcement about the construction start date within a few months," Scovell said. "We're wrapping up the project's design, which we plan to unveil when we announce our ground-breaking. Rest-assured, it will be a project designed for the site and the region."
Woodbine has assembled a design team that includes: Hill Glazier Architects, Inc., of Palo Alto, California (hotel/clubhouse/spa architecture), Vivian/Nichols Associates of Dallas, Texas (interior design), Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates of Toledo, Ohio (golf course architect) and TBG Partners of Austin (landscape architect).
Hyatt Resort Partner Background Information
DEVELOPER/MANAGING GENERAL PARTNER -- Woodbine Development Corporation is a 30-year-old real estate company specializing in development of master-planned communities, hotels, resorts and golf courses. In addition to development of its own real estate investment projects, Woodbine provides real estate development services to corporations, non-profit institutions and individuals.
Woodbine's multimillion-dollar hotel/resort/retail project portfolio includes:
INVESTMENT PARTNER -- Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) is an Alaska Native regional corporation with a mission of fostering the economic, social, and cultural well being of its shareholders and their descendants, and is committed to business success with a diversified investment portfolio in and outside of Alaska.
CIRI is one of 13 Alaska Native regional corporations established by Congress under the terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and is considered one of Alaska's most financially successful Native corporations. CIRI is the largest private landowner in south-central Alaska, and the corporation's land and resource base has fueled expansion into a variety of industries throughout the United States.
CIRI's investments currently focus on several business segments: tourism and resorts; construction services and oilfield support; telecommunications; real estate; natural resources; and other investments.
CIRI's tourism and natural resources activities are focused in Alaska, capitalizing on CIRI's land base and the interest in Alaska as a destination. Outside Alaska, CIRI is an investment partner in the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort; the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas; and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona. CIRI also owns and operates the Casino MonteLago at MonteLago Village, Lake Las Vegas.
CIRI has been a national success story for minority participation in radio and television broadcasting as well as in wireless and wireline telecommunications. CIRI's extraordinary success in wireless telephone investments began as a series of partnerships with BellSouth Corp. and VoiceStream Wireless Corp. These ventures, which operated digital wireless telephone networks in markets across the country, were based on strong partner relationships.
CIRI has partnered with Nabors Industries, the largest land-based oil drilling company in the world, to form Alaska Interstate Construction, LLC, and Peak Oilfield Service Co. These companies provide construction, mining services, equipment maintenance, and oilfield services primarily in Alaska.
A key strategy in CIRI's business success has been to be well positioned for new investments and to team with successful, reputable and expert business partners.
CIRI has formed and supports a network of nonprofit affiliates that serve CIRI shareholders, Alaska Natives and Native Americans within the Cook Inlet region. The organizations represent a collective commitment to share human and financial resources to enhance the quality of life for the Native community.
INVESTMENT/OPERATING PARTNER -- Hyatt Corporation opened its first hotel on September 27, 1957. Today, there are 209 Hyatt hotels and resorts around the world, which are managed by two separate groups of companies. Subsidiaries of Hyatt International Corporation operate 87 hotels and resorts in 39 countries. Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a separate company, and its subsidiaries operate, lease and franchise 122 hotels, including 19 resorts, in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Today, Hyatt specializes in deluxe hotels with meeting facilities and special services for the business traveler, operates hotels in major and secondary cities, airport locations, and leading resort areas throughout the world. In many cities Hyatt has made a significant contribution to revitalizing the area and spurring business and population growth. With the new hotels under development, Hyatt International will be creating more than 20,000 job opportunities throughout the world. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts have a reputation not only for their physical distinctiveness, incorporating local art and design, but also for the amenities and services provided. These special services include Hyatt Gold Passport, Hyatt's renowned recognition and award program for the frequent traveler; Regency Club and Grand Club, VIP concierge floors; complimentary morning newspaper; specialty restaurants; and custom catering.
OWNER/OPERATOR OF MCKINNEY ROUGHS NATURE PARK -- Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is a Texas conservation and reclamation district created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. It has no taxing authority and operates on utility revenue and fees generated from supplying energy, water and community services.
LCRA generates electricity and sells it wholesale to 42 customers, including city-owned utilities and cooperatives that serve more than 1 million people. LCRA also builds and operates transmission projects through a nonprofit corporation it created, manages the waters of the lower Colorado River, operates parks, and helps communities with economic development. LCRA operates on revenue from the sale of electricity, water and other services. LCRA owns more than 16,600 acres of recreational lands along the Highland Lakes and Colorado River, with more than 40 parks, natural science centers and nature preserves.
Hyatt Resort Consulting Design Team Background Information
HOTEL/CLUBHOUSE/SPA ARCHITECT -- Hill Glazier Architects, Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., specializes in the design of hotels and resorts, golf clubhouses and spas. Founded in 1980, the firm has achieved national and international prominence providing a full range of architectural services. Projects include sophisticated urban hotels, unique destination resorts, and world-class recreational facilities. Hill Glazier's designs are carefully planned to respect both the local architectural character and natural site features. An experienced team is selected for each project to ensure completion on time and within budget. Hill Glazier Architects has received numerous awards and has been featured in national and international publications. The firm's solid reputation stems from the success of several hundred hospitality projects in over 25 countries.
INTERIOR DESIGNER -- Vivian/Nichols Associates is a Dallas-based interior architectural design firm that has played an integral role in the hospitality and gaming market segments for nearly two decades. The firm's creative designs and corporate philosophy have made them one of the industry leaders.
Vivian/Nichols has provided award-winning, innovative design for more than 100 prestigious hotels, destination resorts, convention centers, historic restorations and casinos throughout North America/Canada and Mexico. V/N's trademark of creating timeless design with an "edge" is well-recognized within the industry and has resulted in the firm's portfolio of distinguished projects, which range from the 39-key Rough Creek Lodge Executive Resort and Conference Center in Glen Rose, Texas, to the 1,400-key Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
The firm's award-winning projects have been featured in numerous national design publications. The firm has consistently been named one of Interior Design Magazine's "Design Giants" since 1988, as well as one of the "Top 50 Hospitality Design Firms" since 1989, as published in Hotel and Motel Management. Vivian/Nichols has been the recipient of numerous design awards including three Lodging Hospitality Magazine's "Designer Circle Award" and the prestigious "Hotel Gold Key Award for Excellence."
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT -- TBG Partners creates places that bring the land, the built environment and people into harmony. Since 1987, the firm has developed award-winning solutions for many of Texas' and the nation's most prestigious corporations, developers, architects, municipalities and institutions. The firm has a legacy of exceptional place-making for communities, lifestyle centers, cultural landscapes, historic places, corporate campuses and healthcare centers.
Founded by Earl Broussard, the firm has 10 principals and approximately 60 employees in offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and McAllen. Every member of the team brings extraordinary talent and diverse experience, a willingness to explore new ideas and discover fresh solutions, and a commitment to delivering work that is responsible to the environment and responsive to the clients' vision.
To each assignment the firm brings the thrill of discovery and a reverence for time and place. Artistic vision is matched by technical proficiency and responsibility to clients and the community. Attention to detail and work that is comprehensive and timely are fundamentals. Most of TBG's clients have worked with the firm on multiple projects over many years. TBG often work with clients through the entitlement and financing of projects becoming an extension of their development staff. The firm brings a focus on land--its attributes, its possibilities and its fragility.
GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT -- Arthur Hills / Steve Forrest and Associates is headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, and has designed more than 180 new courses in the United States, Europe and Asia, and renovated more than 120 courses including renowned clubs like Oakmont, Inverness and Oakland Hills. The firm's reputation rests on its ability to design courses that are playable yet challenging, while created with an overriding commitment to environmental sensitivity.
McKinney Roughs Nature Park Background Information
Rolling canyons, wildflower meadows and lazy river bends are just waiting to be explored at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, located eight miles west of Bastrop, Texas, and 13 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
The 1,100-acre preserve is where four unique ecosystems come together and provide a habitat for hundreds of species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Once slated for development as residential housing, LCRA purchased the site in 1995 and developed it as a nature park and natural science center in 1998.
Recreational opportunities -- At McKinney Roughs, you can canoe the Colorado, hike miles of trails, or just enjoy the wonders of the natural surroundings. Avid equestrians and folks just wanting to learn more about the birds and wildlife that live in Texas' terrain are frequent visitors to McKinney Roughs. To see the latest calendar of events and learning activities, see RiverVentures calendar.
Birding and wildlife -- The 1,100-acre nature park is home to hundreds of native Texas plants, birds and mammals. The visitors' center provides free guidebooks and binoculars to help newcomers better appreciate their visit.
Trails -- Fourteen miles of hiking and equestrian trails are waiting to be explored at McKinney Roughs. Whether you're looking for an afternoon stroll, or a strenuous hike, have fun hitting the trail.
Guided river programs -- The river programs at McKinney Roughs serve more than 4,000 participants every year. Popular programs include Kids on the Colorado, night-time floats, birding by boat and swiftwater trips.
Innovative educational programs -- The Mark Rose Natural Science Center hosts some of the state's most innovative nature-based educational programs and activities. The natural science center offers nature programs throughout the year for students of all ages. Children can observe live animals in their habitat, catch and classify insects, participate in leadership programs on a challenge course, or spend the day rafting the Colorado River. There's even a program where children can acquire wilderness survival skills in the Junior Naturalist Program. Schools, scouts, and individuals are welcome to take part in the sessions. More than 10,000 students participate annually in educational programs at McKinney Roughs.
|Also See:||Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Opens Golf Clubhouse Designed by Hill Glazier Architects, Inc / April 2002|
|Resort Investor Cook Inlet Region Inc. Recorded $434 million Profit in 2001 / April 2002|
|The 80 Year Old Broadmoor Hotel and Resort Completes Final Phase of Two-year $75 million Makeover / May 2002|
|Three Lenders Round Out the $180-million Capitalization Package for the 750-room Westin Kierland Resort / Dec 2000|