|By Pat Maio, North County Times,
Escondido, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
August 27, 2010 --CARLSBAD -- An $186.5 million loan to the owner of the coastal Park Hyatt Aviara Resort has been tagged for "imminent default," according to an alert issued by Fitch Ratings, a credit-rating service.
The owner of the 329-room resort situated on 24 acres has notified the lender that it is no longer in a position to pay the debt, which Fitch calls "special servicing," according to Fitch spokesman Sandro Scenga.
A spokesman for the venture led by Broadreach Capital Partners of Los Angeles, which bought the resort in 2006, was not immediately available for comment on the status of the loan from Wachovia Bank.
The Fitch disclosure that Broadreach had been tagged for "imminent default" on its loan to Wachovia is the second "double whammy" for Broadreach in recent months, according to industry observer Alan X. Reay, president of the Atlas Hospitality Group in Irvine.
Earlier this summer, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts took over management of the Aviara Resort from Four Seasons Hotels. The resort reopened as the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, becoming one of the 25 luxury Park Hyatt properties the hotel chain operates worldwide.
The change in management came in the wake of a dispute between the Broadreach venture and Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. Ultimately, the two companies parted ways.
A spokesman for Broadreach, which led the venture in 2006 to buy the property, could not be immediately reached for comment.
If the Aviara resort is forced into a sale, Reay said possible buyers could include Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. of Aliso Viejo, or investors from China, other parts of Asia, or rich people wanting to park their wealth in a luxury property.
Sunstone recently said it would buy the iconic Royal Palm Resort Hotel on Miami's ritzy Collins Avenue for $117 million. The deal signals a shift for Sunstone, which had forfeited several hotels to lenders over the past year, including the swanky W Hotel San Diego.
"Pretty much the entire resort segment has been severely damaged in this downturn. This is not unique to San Diego County," Reay said.
In the luxury segment in San Diego County, there are only a handful of resorts with adjoining golf courses that compete against the Aviara, including the Carlsbad-based La Costa Resort and Spa and the Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook.
Call staff writer Pat Maio at (760) 740-3527.
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Copyright (c) 2010, North County Times, Escondido, Calif.
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