|By Roger Bull, The Florida Times-Union,
JacksonvilleMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 08, 2011--An agreement has been reached that should get Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa out of bankruptcy soon, according to a lawyer in the case.
All three parties involved announced in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Thursday morning that they have agreed to a reorganization plan, said Gardner Davis, a Jacksonville attorney representing Marriott International.
Under the plan, the Ponte Vedra Beach resort's owners, Irish investment partnership RQB Resort LP and RQB Development LP , would turn it over to Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. RQB bought the resort in 2006 for $220 million and still owed Goldman Sachs $193 million on the mortgage when it filed for bankruptcy in March 2010.
The debt will be forgiven, Davis said, and the resort would remain a Marriott.
"This is a good outcome for the employees, resort guests and the community," Davis said.
RQB had filed a plan last month that called for turning over to Goldman Sachs, but would also have terminated the franchise agreement with Marriott.
The new plan, which Davis said was agreed to on Wednesday, will be filed before the next hearing Sept. 15. Then the resort should be out of bankruptcy 45 days after that.
"Emerging from bankruptcy with a financially strong owner sets the stage for strong growth in the future," he said.
A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said he didn't know if the firm has plans to keep or sell the resort. But he said that it does own several hotels through its various corporate entities.
The resort, which opened in 1987, includes a hotel with 348 guest rooms, golf villas with 160 rooms and six restaurants.
It has remained open during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Roger Bull: (904) 3539-4296
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