|By George Brennan, Cape Cod Times,
Hyannis, Mass.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 16, 2010--FALMOUTH -- The 266-room hotel that overlooks Old Silver Beach is under a sales agreement to a hotel company that could turn the tired resort into the Upper Cape's version of the elegant Chatham Bars Inn, according to one of the current owners.
Rumors have swirled for weeks about the future of the Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort and Conference Center. Yesterday, Wesley Finch, chairman of the Florida-based Finch Group, which has owned a 43 percent share of the resort since 1993, confirmed a purchase-and-sale agreement had been signed.
Scout Capital, a New York- and Nantucket-based resort company, is going through its due diligence on the property, Finch said. That should be completed by the end of the month.
A spokeswoman for Scout Capital referred calls to the company's chief executive officer, Alan Worden, who did not return a call seeking comment.
Terms of the potential sale were not disclosed, but on Scout Capital's Web site, the company says it acquires properties in the $20 million to $400 million range. In December 2006, Scout bought the 130-room Harbor View Hotel & Resort and the 60-room Kelley House, both in Edgartown, paying over $31 million, according to the Dukes County Registry of Deeds. The company also has properties on Nantucket and Bermuda.
It would take an estimated $13 million to $20 million investment to turn the Sea Crest complex into a four- or five-star resort that would rival Chatham Bars Inn or Wequassett Inn, another swank hotel, in Harwich, Finch said.
"It should be upgraded," Finch said of the Sea Crest. "We have Buzzards Bay right behind the hotel. It can and should be repositioned as Chatham Bars one hour closer to the mainland than Chatham Bars is. You can rebuild and turn it into an upscale resort."
Because of the ownership structure currently in place, Finch said there was no way for an upgrade to happen without him agreeing to borrow the money personally. That's not something he was willing to do, he said.
In the current economic climate, there was no ability to refinance the property, he added.
A hotel has been at the Sea Crest location since the 1940s, when Lou Walters, the father of celebrity television interviewer Barbara Walters, built the Latin Quarter, a hotel and dinner theater, according to the Sea Crest Web site. In 1962, the Sea Crest was expanded, and in 1971 it was turned into a year-round resort, the Web site states.
Finch and his limited partners purchased the property at auction in 1993.
At one time, Celtics legendary coach and general manager Arnold "Red" Auerbach owned an interest in the seaside hotel, Finch said.
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