KSL buys historic North Carolina resort

The Denver-based private equity firm has entered into an agreement to purchase the 99-year-old Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, North Carolina, from Dallas-based conglomerate Sammons Enterprises. KSL plans a $25 million renovation programme.

KSL Capital Partners has entered into an agreement to acquire a North Carolina resort. According to the Denver-based private equity firm, it is buying the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa from Dallas-based conglomerate Sammons Enterprises. The 99-year-old resort is situated between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Although the closing price was not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, valued the property between $100 million and $150 million. The agreement is expected to close in the next 30 days.

Constructed in 1913, the resort features 512 rooms, eight dining outlets and seven retail outlets, an 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course, a 50,000-square-foot sports complex and 55,000 square feet of meeting space with 42 meeting rooms. 

Sammons has owned and operated the resort for nearly 60 years. The firm’s chief executive officer Dave Bratton said in a statement that “hospitality is no longer a core business for Sammons”.

Following the acquisition, The Grove Park Inn will continue to operate as an independent luxury resort and will be managed by KSL Capital Partners’ hotel management arm, KSL Resorts. KSL Capital Partners is planning a $25 million renovation programme to refurbish the resort’s public areas, guest rooms, dining outlets, meeting spaces and spa. The renovation programme is scheduled to be completed in time for the resort’s centennial. 

“The Grove Park Inn has a deep and storied past and we understand the importance of honouring the history of the property while providing the next level of service and amenities that today’s guests demand,” said Marty Newburger, a principal of KSL Capital Partners. “The experience KSL Resorts has in managing properties like The Grove Park Inn partnered with our planned capital improvement program will bring a further level of luxury, service and amenities for our guests and the community to enjoy.” 

It was reported last June that KSL Capital Partners held a final closing on $2 billion for its third fund specializing in travel and leisure businesses. KSL Capital Partners III, which is targeting global opportunities in the hospitality, recreation, clubs, resort real estate and travel service sectors, exceeded its original target of $1.5 billion. The firm's previous fund closed on $1.1 billion in 2006, delivering a 1.14x multiple and a net IRR of 9.7 percent. KSL’s current portfolio includes The Homestead, Montelucia Resort & Spa, Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, The Royal Palm, La Costa Resort and Spa and ClubCorp.