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Loews Hotels, Rank America, Inc. and Universal Studios, Inc. Enter into Definitive Financing Agreements
LOS ANGELES, June 29, 1998 -  Loews Hotels, Rank America, Inc. and Universal Studios, Inc., through their UCF Hotel joint venture, today announced that they have entered into definitive agreements with respect to $342 million construction financing for three hotels and a common support facility to be located at the Universal Studios Escape in Orlando, Florida. The remainder of the project will be provided as equity by the joint venture partners.

The credit facility was arranged by The Chase Manhattan Bank, with Bankers Trust Company, The Bank of Nova Scotia and Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company as co-arrangers. The financing under this credit facility is to be provided by The Chase Manhattan Bank, Bankers Trust Company, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company, The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Fleet Capital Corporation, National Westminster Bank Plc, Republic National Bank, Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, KBC Bank N.V., Union Planters Bank of Florida, Dresdner Bank AG, Bank of America NT SA and Lloyds Bank Plc. The credit facility, which matures in 2005, provides financing for the construction of the project and permanent financing thereafter.

Jonathan Tisch, President and CEO of Loews Hotels said, "We are very pleased to have completed this important phase of the development process with our partners at Universal Studios, Inc. and The Rank Group Plc. Now we can focus our attention on moving forward on the opening of the first three on-site hotels at Universal Studios Escape."

Cathy Nichols, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Studios Recreation Group said, "The addition of these world class hotels is a key step in making Universal Studios Escape a spectacular vacation experience. These beautifully themed hotels, combined with CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, named `the best theme park in the world,' and our incredible new park, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, opening in Summer 1999, will provide an extraordinary entertainment experience."

"The Portofino Bay Hotel, a Loews Hotel" is presently under construction and is scheduled to open in Summer 1999. It will be a luxury hotel containing approximately 750 rooms, multiple restaurants and approximately 42,000 square feet of banquet/meeting facilities. Designed in the image of the fishing village of Portofino, Italy, this hotel will set a new standard for luxury in the Orlando market.

     The Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Studios Escape
Designed to recreate the charm and hospitality of Portofino, Italy, the hotel will add a unique flavor to Universal Studios Escape, Florida. It will include: 
  • 750 guest rooms and suites 
  • 41,000 square feet of meeting space
  • 15,000 square foot Grand Ballroom
  • 7,500 square foot Junior Ballroom
  • Full service Business Center 
  • Eight restaurants and lounges (including poolside snack bar) 
  • 10,600 square foot Health Spa 
  •  Two swimming pools Two Bocci Ball courts 
  • Theme park transportation system

Following the completion of the Portofino Bay Hotel, "The Hard Rock Hotel," a first class hotel, will open in Winter 2000, with 650 rooms, multiple restaurants and meeting areas. The project's third hotel, also a first class facility, with a South Seas theme, is scheduled to open in Spring 2001 and will offer 1,000 rooms, multiple restaurants and 38,000 square feet of banquet/meeting area to its guests.

These hotels, together with Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park (opening in July 1999), the existing Universal Studios Theme Park and Universal Studios CityWalk (a night time entertainment extravaganza opening in December 1998), will comprise the Universal Studios Escape -- a world-class, destination resort. Guests of the hotels will have access to the walkways, roads and waterways which will unite all of the attractions at Universal Studios Escape and provide a seamless experience to guests. Hotel guests will be within a short walk from each entertainment venue and will also have access to shuttle busses and ferry boats.

Loews Hotels currently owns and/or operates 14 hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada and the Principality of Monaco. In the midst of the largest expansion campaign in its history, the chain has a total of six hotels under development. In addition to the three hotels at Universal Studios Escape, these include the 800-room Loews Miami Beach Hotel (October 1998); the 368-room House of Blues, a Loews Hotel, in Chicago (September 1998); and the conversion of the landmark PSFS building in Philadelphia into the 585-room Loews Philadelphia Hotel (Winter 2000).

The Rank Group Plc is a London-based leisure and entertainment company and an international provider of services to the film industry. Its broad based leisure and entertainment activities include world-wide Hard Rock Cafes and brand rights.

Universal Studios Escape is a joint venture between Universal Studios, a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global beverage and entertainment company, and The Rank Group Plc. Universal Studios Escape includes the existing Universal Studios Florida, along with a new theme park named Universal Studios Islands of Adventure to open in 1999; Universal Studios CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment complex opening in 1998 featuring themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and a 20-screen, 5,000-seat movie megaplex; world-class hotel accommodations, the first of which will open in 1999, and expanded film and television production facilities. Universal Studios is a diversified entertainment company and a worldwide leader in motion pictures, television, music, home and location based entertainment. Universal Studios is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global beverage and entertainment company.

Iris Gelt of Universal Studios, Inc., 818-777-9775
Susan Donovan of Rank, 011-44-171-873-7293
Jim Yeager of Universal Studios Recreation Group, 818-777-1047; 
or Debra Kelman of Loews, 212-521-2833
Web site:
Also see:  Loews Hotels Signs Letter of Intent to Manage the House of Blues Hotel in Chicago / Feb 1998 

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