Gencom Closes Caribbean Resort Disposition

The Florida-based hospitality and mixed-use real estate investment firm and its partner, Private Equity Group, have sold the 295-room Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort in the Cayman Islands.

Marriott Grand Cayman Beach ResortGencom is wrapping up 2015 by pocketing some profits. The Florida-based hospitality and mixed-use real estate investment firm and its partner, Private Equity Group, have sold the 295-room Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort in the Cayman Islands. Affiliates of London + Regional Properties picked up the Caribbean asset.

The sale price was undisclosed at the time of publication. However, if it is assumed that the property described in a fourth quarter report by Integra Realty Resources as a 295-room, major-branded, recently renovated beach resort is indeed the Marriott Grand Cayman, then the asset sold for approximately $91 million.

While the profit Gencom made on the sale was orchestrated by commercial real estate services firm CBRE, it is not being publicized and it is unlikely that the company lost any money on the transaction, as buying properties for the purpose of repositioning them before selling is Gencom’s hallmark.

Featuring 300 feet of frontage along the celebrated Seven Mile Beach, the resort made its debut on a nearly five-acre site in 1990, and in 1998, it began operating under the Marriott brand. In 2004, a natural disaster hit the resort hard. In 2006, Gencom acquired the property at a significant discount to replacement cost, taking the reins from J. E. Robert Cos., and commenced a comprehensive repositioning program. In 2011, the company became co-owner of the hotel with PEG, and then earned a footnote in economic history when it refinanced the asset with the first CMBS loan outside of the U.S. since the Great Recession.

Together, Gencom and PEG completed a $15.6 million renovation of the Marriott Grand Cayman in 2014. “This has been a classic case of taking a great resort with a number of difficult problems and making it into something few could foresee,” OJ Buigas, CEO of PEG, said in a prepared statement.

The Marriott Grand Cayman has fared well under Gencom and PEG’s ownership. In 2014, the property recorded an average occupancy level exceeding 72 percent, according to CBRE. While per the IRR report, the Caribbean hotel sector experienced an average occupancy level of roughly 68.9 percent. And although the Cayman Islands market’s stayover arrivals numbers remained flat this year through October, it still reported the highest ADR in the Caribbean market at $358.72 per guestroom. It looks like the Marriott Grand Cayman transaction was a win-win deal.