Blackstone Sells Phoenix’s Largest Resort

Trinity Real Estate and Elliott Management have acquired JW Marriott Desert Ridge, a 396-acre luxury property.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort Spa
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Image via Google Street View

The Blackstone Group has sold JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix’s largest resort. A joint venture made up of funds managed by Trinity Real Estate Investments and funds managed by Elliott Management Corp. acquired the 396-acre luxury complex. According to Real Estate Alert, the asset traded for $602 million. 

The deal comes less than a year after the partnership purchased another massive resort from the same seller. In December 2018, Trinity and Elliott became the owners of Grande Lakes Orlando Resort, a 409-acre development close to the metro’s popular theme park attractions. 

Located at 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Desert Ridge is near Pima Freeway and State Route 51. Both downtown Phoenix and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are roughly 22 miles south of the property. Due to Phoenix and Scottsdale’s strong economic growth and warm weather, the area attracts both business and leisure travelers. 

Value-add strategy

Sean Hehir, managing partner at Trinity, said the acquisition was well below replacement cost. The new ownership intends to implement a multi-million dollar capital improvement plan at the property. Upgrades are set to include guestroom renovations, as well as the remodeling of the meeting spaces, ballrooms, water features and food offerings. The joint venture is also considering opportunities to expand the resort.

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa features a 950-key hotel, 212,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, five pools, a river, a spa and two championship golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo. The luxury complex also has the largest ballroom in the state. According to Az Big Media, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa has recently added six new pool suites. Last year, enhancements at the resort totaled $8 million.