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Cascade makes third Four Seasons buy

Bill Gates’ private investment arm has made its third investment in three months in the Four Seasons hotel company, purchasing a Punta Mita, Mexico resort for $200 million.

Kirkland, Washington-based Cascade Investments has entered into agreements to purchase the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and adjacent La Solana land parcel in Punta Mita, Mexico for $200 million from real estate investment trust Strategic Hotels and Resorts. Adjusting for the allocation of the land value, the sale represents approximately $980,000 per key, according to a press release from Strategic Hotels.
 
The deal marks the third Four Seasons acquisition made by Cascade, the private investment arm of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, in the past 10 weeks. In October, PERE reported on the company’s acquisition of the Four Seasons Hotel Houston for $140 million, and in November, Cascade also acquired the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta for $62 million, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics. 
 
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, which is located on a private peninsula within a 400-acre nature preserve near Puerto Vallarta, features a total of 173 units, including 135 guest rooms, 38 suites, 48 private villas and 25 club residences.  Opened in 1999, the site also includes several restaurants and lounges, along with indoor and outdoor banquet and meeting facilities.  Cascade has the option of developing the 48-acre oceanfront land parcel adjacent to the resort.
 
“We are a significant investor in Mexico and hold a long-term positive view on the country and its economy,” said chief investment officer of Cascade Michael Larson in a statement.  “This is an outstanding property asset.  Our investment also underscores our confidence in the property’s management team, the leadership of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and the strength of the Four Seasons brand overall.”
 
Under its new ownership, the resort will continue to be managed by Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which is owned jointly by Gates, Saudi Arabian prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp. In 2007, Gates backed a $3.8 billion management buyout of the hotel chain. Gate’s Cascade and Al-Waleed’s Kingdom Holding each own a 47.5 percent stake in the company, while Sharp’s Triples Holdings owns the remaining 5 percent.  Cascade is also a shareholder of seller Strategic Hotels, owning approximately 6.4 percent of the company's common equity.