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Four Seasons: Back on Course

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under 4Seasons, Featured

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rsz_14_seas_bldgThanks to successful restructuring  with a prominent Seattle investor group led by Jolene and Bruce McCaw, The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle is back on firm, long-term financial footing.

“The cloud over this project has lifted. Working closely together, our partners have created a great global solution to Four Seasons Seattle’s financial challenges,” Bruce McCaw said. “This landmark development is solidly back on track, giving our guests, residents, prospective residents, the local real estate market and Seattle community confidence that Four Seasons Seattle is positioned as the preeminent luxury address in downtown Seattle.”

Built during the height of downtown’s recent construction boom, the $180+ million project opened in the fall of 2008, just as Seattle’s real estate market started to visibly crumble. The project went into default a year later in December 2009, unable to meet the terms of its previous loans. The project faced possible foreclosure or bankruptcy, an untenable prospect to the investors, which include a number of prominent Seattle families and residents at Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle.

“To protect and preserve this true Seattle icon, our investor group remained firmly supportive throughout this lengthy process, and we all worked very hard to reach a great solution for the Four Seasons Seattle investors, homeowners, contractors and lender,” McCaw said.

Under the restructuring announced on April 26th, affiliates of the Seattle Hotel Group LLC, owner of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle, invested additional funds and negotiated new terms with its construction lender, Washington Real Estate Holdings, LLC, which has agreed to extend the senior debt on terms and rate more closely resembling conventional first mortgage debt.

4 seas waterCraig Wrench, president and CEO of Washington Real Estate Holdings, said, “As a local company, we wanted to ensure the long-term success of this great property, and we’re proud to be a partner in the solution. This puts an end to the uncertainty that’s been swirling around this project.”

Washington Real Estate Holdings, headquartered in Seattle, invests in real estate assets throughout the western United States.

The investor team also settled a lawsuit brought by building contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis and liens against the property by Lease Crutcher Lewis and its subcontractors. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Bill Lewis, president and CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis and an original and continuing investor in Four Seasons Seattle, said, “Everyone gave up something, which was challenging, but ultimately this is a reasonable outcome for all parties. This is a great project that opened at a challenging time in the market. This restructuring solution is good for the project and good for Seattle’s real estate market.”

McCaw added, “I would like to thank both Washington Holdings and Lease Crutcher Lewis for their constructive efforts to resolve these complex issues. There were so many moving parts to this deal; this is a remarkable outcome.”

 Other details of the restructuring:

  • The McCaws will lead a new ownership management board that will control the development. Original managers John Oppenheimer, Tom Alberg and Paul Schell support this management transition plan and remain investors. In addition, Alberg will participate in the new management board.
  • Substantial financial reserves are in place to meet loan payments, homeowner association dues, capital improvements, etc.
  • The McCaws’ team, led by David Brady, worked with restructuring specialists Ragan Powers at Davis Wright Tremaine and Michael Newsome of Zachary Scott.

4 seas walkWidely embraced by international business and leisure travelers and the Seattle community, the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle has been exceeding expectations. Management of the hotel, under seasoned general manager Ben Trodd, remains unchanged in the financial restructuring.

“Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is performing exceptionally well, and we are delighted that we have been welcomed back to Seattle in such a warm and positive way by the local community. We will continue to provide our guests with the uncompromising commitment to faultless service and attention to detail for which Four Seasons is proudly known,” Trodd said.

The 147 guest rooms and 36 private residences at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle are ideally situated in the cultural and business heart of downtown, just steps from Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum and the city’s best shopping, dining and entertainment venues.

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Four Seasons Hotel Seattle offers the consummate Seattle experience. The modern waterfront hotel has a full spectrum of amenities that incorporate the best elements of the Pacific Northwest, such as sweeping views of Elliott Bay, poolside lounge, spa treatments that feature indigenous ingredients and a signature restaurant, ART, which just announced an exciting new menu that continues to highlight fresh, local ingredients.

Residents of Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle have access to 24-hour dedicated residential concierge service, valet parking, 24-hour room service and the hotel’s full spectrum of amenities and services. The private residences range from 1,300 square feet to more than 7,500 square feet and from about $1.5 million to more than $10 million. To date, 25 of the 36 private residences have been sold, closed and occupied.

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is selling the remaining residences.  For more information or to schedule a private appointment, please call us at 206-910-5000, or send an email to urgent@stroupe.com

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