Friday, March 31, 2006


Freeport Workers Faring Well After Taking Over Timeshare Hotel

Twelve employees of the Coral Beach Hotel in Freeport are said to be doing well since taking over the day-to-day operations of the small timeshare resort almost six months ago.

Second Vice president of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Lloyd Cooper, told The Bahama Journal on Wednesday that the employees, who were initially in danger of losing their jobs but are now their own bosses, have proven they can do the job for themselves.

"They are doing well…They are in charge of the timeshare grounds, they are in charge of the rooms and they have housemen and security guards," Mr. Cooper said.

"The former employees of Coral Beach, who are now owners of the timeshare resort, now have their own destiny; they have their own bank account and everything else. They are the first so far [to] lead the way which I think is a major accomplishment."

Mr. Cooper said all that remains is for the heads of agreement to be signed by the employees and the timeshare resort’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bruno Rufa. Mr. Cooper said Mr. Rufa, who resides in Canada, is expected to be in Grand Bahama next month for the signing.

According to Mr. Cooper, when he and Mr. Rufa last communicated, the chairman was very pleased with the way the employees were managing the timeshare resort.

Mr. Cooper said this unique situation "puts the responsibility on the employees" and "it shows that they can do for themselves… and do it better [than anyone else]."

Owners of the timeshare hotel were able to avoid a potentially explosive situation in September 2005 by reaching what hotel union members called, "a very good settlement."

The workers had been laid off after management claimed the timeshare hotel was losing money. At the time, employees were awarded their severance pay based on their years of service in accordance with the 2001 Industrial Relations Act, according to Mr. Cooper.

But after union leaders met with Mr. Rufa, the employees were able to retain their severance pay, in addition to getting their jobs back.

According to the agreement, the company would not replace the employees either by new employees or by sub-contractors and the agreement also provided for the employees to be able to get salaries in line with what they previously received.

Most of the employees have worked for the timeshare hotel for a minimum of eight to 24 years. Presently, David Bain, a security guard, acts as a manger for the timeshare resort.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


UnderSea Resort Sells The First 100 Weeks Of Timeshare Ownership

The Cala Corporation (Pink Sheets:CCAA), dba UnderSea Resort is pleased to announce that the first 100 weeks of timeshare ownership have been reserved by prospective buyers. The Company must sell an additional 2,900 weeks before lenders commit to funding the $400 million project.

The average life price per week is $50,000 for a 1,000 square foot timeshare unit, and $100,000 for a 2,000 or 3,000 square foot unit. Therefore, each location has an inventory of approximate 14,500 or about $725 million. The company is in discussions with world class destinations such as San Francisco, Miami, Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, Monte Carlo, Monaco and Venice, Italy.

The Company believes that pre-selling the mandatory 3,000 timeshare weeks, which will translate into $150M, is feasible because most of the buyers will purchase several weeks or the entire 52 weeks. The reservation funds will be deposited into escrow with Chicago Title in Escondido, California. It is important to point out that The Chicago Title Escondido location processes approximately 50,000 such transactions per month. This office specializes in closing such escrows.
Here comes a new timeshare real estate event.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Sale Of Royal Oasis A Timeshare Resort Again Reported To Be Imminent

The sale of the Crowne Plaza Golf and timeshare Resort and Casino at Royal Oasis again is reported to be imminent, but government remains tight-lipped as negotiations move forward.

But according to a reliable source, the only thing standing in the way of the sale is a difference of $4 million between the proposed offer of $25 million and the $29 million that the owners of the resort are requesting.

The sale of the resort to Harcourt Developments, a property construction and management company bas-ed in Dublin, Ireland, was pending nearly a year ago; however, that deal fell through some weeks later. The source said the Irish-based group is still reported to be the timeshare resort buyer.

Also according to the source, the plan is to have Westgate Resorts, the third-largest timeshare company in the world and the largest privately held corporation in the Central Florida area, operate the resort property while Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino will run the casino.

The Royal Oasis, the second largest timeshare resort in Grand Bahama, shut down in September of 2004 and government has been looking for a buyer for almost that long.

Driftwood Freeport Limited, owners of the resort, said the closure and the lay offs of some 1,200 employees were due to heavy losses incurred from Hurricane Frances.

The sale of the resort to Harcourt Developments, a property construction and management company based in Dublin, Ireland, was pending nearly a year ago; however, that deal fell through some weeks later.

The source said the Irish-based group is still reported to be the buyer, but Westgate will run the property.

In May 2005, the government paid out an unprecedented $5 million of the $6.12 million to 900 displaced workers owed by the resort.

The remaining $1.12 million, which government said needs the approval of Parliament, was expected to have been paid "in short order," but is still outstanding.

Meanwhile, scores of resort timeshare owners, who fear their monies are lost, are up in arms over the dead silence they say they have been receiving from both the timeshare owners and government regarding their assets. Several timeshare owners are looking into the likelihood of a class action suit.

But, according to the source, Westgate has agreed to pick up the disgruntled timeshare owners' outstanding points and include them in its portfolio.

David A. Siegel is founder, president and CEO of Westgate Resorts, which is based in Florida and has over 350,000 timeshare owners.

Mr. Siegel and Robert Earl, co-chairman of Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, announced last April they were partnering to develop a 52-storey luxury vacation timeshare ownership tower directly connected to the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino complex on the world famous Las Vegas Strip.

The closure of the Royal Oasis resort has had a spiralling effect on the unemployment rate, the economy and the tourism market in the nation's second city.

In an exclusive interview with The Freeport News three weeks ago, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed government is in negotiation with "new players" and that the new group has an international reputation.

While he declined to name the new players before the deal was sealed, the minister added that government was looking for players with "stickability" and one who could build Grand Bahama much like Atlantis did for Paradise Island.

If the deal for the Royal Oasis timeshare Resort goes through, the source noted, it will mean a huge win-win situation for everyone involved.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Tennessee-Based Company To Bring Timeshare and Fractionals to People’s Republic of China

Grandview of China, LLC (McMinnville, TN) has announced it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Shenyang Sing Feng Da Tour Consultation and Service Ltd. (Shenyang, Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China) to provide its expertise in the establishment and development of timesharing and fractional property laws, oversight, enforcement, licensing, training as well as selling, managing and developing vacation exchange trade to Liaoning Province.

The agreement includes 422 timeshare resorts located in Beijing, Dalin, Dandong, Benxi City, Shenyang, Shanghai and other cities in Southern China. More than half are Five and Four-Star Resorts. All in all there are 75,000 Exchange Weeks covered in the exclusive agreement. Beijing is the site of the 2008 Olympics. Shenyang is host to the International Horticulture Expo from May until October 2006.

In addition to providing all training and continuing education necessary to assure that Chinese personnel meet or exceed United States and international standards, Grandview of China will also offer timeshare travel packages under the name Grandview Dream Packages.

Brian Kemp, COO, Grandview, with the counsel of Gray Sasser (son of the former U.S. Ambassador to China, Jim Sasser) and Joe Looney (former Legal Council for Fairfield Communities), drafted the laws enacted on March 20 throughout China for the purpose of regulating timeshare fractional and vacation club offerings for all provinces in the People’s Republic of China.

“Although China had enacted Real Property Law recently, nothing had been codified in the timesharing/fractional sector. Now that it has our industry may move forward with providing the best vacation products possible to the Chinese public as well as tourists and visitors from abroad,” said Kemp. “During my recent visit it was clear that the people of China are open for travel from all nations; they are resolute in their desire to share the beauty and hospitality found only in China. Grandview of China is extremely proud to be the exclusive provider of timeshare, fractional and exchange services for this exotic and wonderful destination.”

Monday, March 27, 2006


Sen. Donna Kim Does the Unthinkable To Timeshare Owners

History was made at the state Senate Tourism committee yesterday, when the committee chair Donna Mercado Kim held a hearing on HB 1026, which sought to raise the current TAT on timeshare owners by as much as 4 times the present rate.

More than 1,400 emails in opposition from mainland owners of Hawaii timeshares, 49 testimonies of local owners of timeshares in opposition and several individual timeshare owners who showed up, all testified against the bill and the timeshare increase.

The only support for the measure came from testimony of two unions -- the ILWU and the HGEA, whose representatives did not show up. They were instrumental in the bill’s movement because of their continuing opposition to major hotel chains in Hawaii who continue to market and expand timeshare units along with their hotel units.

What made the hearing unusual was that Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii and committee member Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, reviewed the origin in 1998 of the TAT tax being applied to timeshare owners in the first place. Since the TAT is the tax applied to rentals, the argument then was that it was unfair, illogical and unconstitutional to apply to timeshare owners.

These property owners already pay real property taxes, General Excise Tax and maintenance fees, and since 1998, they have had to pay the TAT as well as if they were renting the property that they own. By increasing this tax, the situation would be made worse, affecting predominantly local owners of Hawaii properties who were in fact investing for themselves and their families in Hawaii.

After the lengthy discussion, Kim said had she been in the Senate in 1998, she would have joined Slom in opposition to this as an unfair tax. She then discussed the committee options: to hold the bill, to amend the bill, to pass the bill with a blank amount as it was presented, or to reduce the amount of the current tax. But instead, she led the effort to do the unthinkable -- repeal the tax and the bad law altogether.

The TAT would not apply to timeshare ownership -- and the committee voted 4 to 0 to do just that, including Senators Kim, Slom, Clarence Nishihara and Wil Espero.

The amended bill next goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and if approved, goes to the Senate floor. The actual tax repeal faces an uncertain future if it returns to the state House, but it was a noteworthy event and an achievement for taxpayers rarely seen in the state Legislature.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Peter Kugler Timeshare Real Estate Developer Dies in US Unexpectedly

Paradise Island timeshare developer of the award-winning, luxury timeshare properties, the Paradise Harbour Club and Marina and the Paradise Island Beach Club, Hans Peter Kugler, died unexpectedly Monday, March 20, during a business trip to North Carolina at age 65.

A leader in the timeshare industry in The Bahamas for decades, Mr Kugler was also the developer of the luxury condominiums Shangri-La, Noble House and The Residence Club all located on Paradise Island.

He was a distinguished member of the business community and sat on the board of the Bahamas Timeshare Council, The Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board, the Paradise Island Tourism Association, and was a member of the Bahamas Hotel Association and a honorary member of the East Nassau Rotary Club. Born on July 5th, 1940 in Hildesheim, Germany, Peter Kugler began his career in the early sixties in Public Relations and Marketing in Hamburg. After two years, he began his own advertising company, K&K Werbeagentur, which he later sold to an associate and still exists today.

Mr Kugler, began his long association with the boating world by representing a German company that sold German Coastguard patrol boats to the governments of Kuwait, Bahrain and Abudabi.

In 1978, Peter Kugler came to the Bahamas for the first time. He bought a condominium on Paradise Island and made the island his permanent home.

Mr. Kugler began buying properties on the south-eastern end of the island in the early 1980's.

Together with several local businessmen, he developed the Paradise Island Beach Club timeshare resort in 1983. He was also one of the lead investors in Vacations in Paradise (VIP) the timeshare marketing and management company for the Paradise Island Beach Club which was established the same year.

After the success of the Paradise Island Beach Club, Mr. Kugler began developing a succession of landmark properties - Shangri- La in 1986 and 1987, Noble House in 1988 and 1989, and the Residence Club in 1998 and 1999.

In 1991, he developed the Paradise Harbour Club and Marina, one of the few timeshare resorts on Paradise Island to offer a 22-slip, well-protected marina as well as The Columbus Tavern, which serves Bahamian and continental food to both guests and the general public. Say good bye to a great timeshare real estate developer.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Investor Looks For Help In Dumping Timeshares

Q: I invested $5,000 each in two resort timeshare units some years back. Maintenance cost has gradually increased. This year it is $539 per unit. I have invested more than $1,000 with several companies during the past years to try to sell the units, to no avail. When I was younger, I got good use from the units by family members or renting. Now I have to try to rent on my own, which I'm not so good at. I'm nearing retirement, and I must get this off my shoulders. Do I forfeit? If so, how? Or is there another alternative?

A: Ask the developer or the management company if they'll take the timeshares back. Advertise online at EZ Timeshare or in newspapers down there, perhaps a classified ad that says "cost $5,000, will sell for $500." And as a last resort (no pun intended), consult your own lawyer about what would happen if you simply stopped paying the management fees, property taxes, or whatever is required with your particular setup. Often there are not really any consequences.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


The timeshare Real Estate Industry Has Supported Regulatory Measures

The timeshare industry has supported regulatory measures on both the state and federal level that enforce proper sales standards and practices. ARDA takes a hard line with members who do not comply with our industry’s stringent marketing standards or those who fail to comply with state and federal laws that are in place.

The National Do Not Call Registry, which opened for consumer registrations in June 2003, initially created much discussion and some concern within our industry. For decades, timeshare companies had used phone sales as an integral element of their sales strategy.

In recent years, however, many companies have broadened their marketing mix, incorporating a sophisticated blend of modern tools that require less emphasis on traditional telemarketing.

That was in June 2003—today, some 85 million Americans are on the National Do Not Call Registry that bars unsolicited phone calls. Although initially concerned with this new federal law, the industry immediately complied and found better, more creative, consumer-friendly methods of reaching prospective owners. Savvy entrepreneurs also developed award-winning tools for helping timeshare industry players adhere to the regulatory requirements.

Innovative timeshare marketing practices (including exposure in retail outlets and the Internet), advertising, and public relations have also proven to be highly successful. Consumers value messages received in a welcoming manner rather than through unsolicited phone calls to their homes.

But most importantly, the value of timeshare sells itself, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the hospitality industry. Vacation ownership is offered through valuable and flexible products, meeting the needs of all demographics. And timeshare sales have never been stronger.

In the nearly three years since Do Not Call went into effect, the timeshare industry has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2004, the first full year, U.S. timeshare sales totaled $7.8 billion, which is a dramatic increase above the 2003 sales of $6.48 billion. As of January 1, 2005, there were 1,688 vacation ownership resorts in the United States, and more than 3.87 million families who own a U.S. timeshare, up from 3.4 million in 2003 and 3 million in 2002.

The timeshare industry has evolved and adapted to comply with regulation and meet the needs of consumers—further testament to the ingenuity, flexibility, drive, and focus that is bred into the professionals we cultivate.

The value of vacation timeshare ownership is now well known, and I am confident that thanks to our know-how and determination, our timeshare industry’s growth will only continue at the rapid pace we have enjoyed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. Opens Its First Off-Site Sales Showroom; Second Sales Showroom Scheduled to Open in August 2006

Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. (AMEX:SVL) today announced it has opened its first off-site timeshare sales showroom. This facility is centrally located in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Irving, Texas.

Silverleaf President Sharon K. Brayfield commented, "We have received a very positive initial response to the opening of our Dallas/Fort Worth off-site sales showroom. Our sales have been historically conducted primarily through the on-site sales centers located at our resorts. This process required potential new members to visit one of our resorts to learn the benefits of our timeshare vacation ownership products. Our new Dallas/Fort Worth showroom allows us to offer new prospects in this marketplace a convenient off-site alternative to experience the amenities each of our 13 resorts affords without leaving their own community. We believe that we will also see an increase in our current Friends Plus member referral program in Dallas/Fort Worth because of the access and convenience a visit to the showroom provides."

In addition to the opening of its Dallas/Fort Worth sales showroom, Silverleaf announced plans to open a second off-site sales showroom in Lombard, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The anticipated opening for this showroom is August 2006. Silverleaf has been serving the Illinois market since 1998, when its Fox River Resort was opened 75 miles west of Chicago. "By placing our second off-site sales showroom in Chicago, we can more efficiently expose the greater Chicago market -- with a population of over 10 million -- to the quality and services of our vacation resorts," Ms. Brayfield noted.

The sales showrooms in Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago will each be operated under the name of "Silverleaf Vacation Store." Each will offer prospective members an interactive experience of Silverleaf's resorts, including a photo gallery and film presentation profiling each of Silverleaf's 13 current timeshare resorts. The two showrooms, which range from 15,000 to 16,000 square feet in size are estimated to cost approximately $1.2 million each to construct and will each employ approximately 30 to 40 sales personnel.

Ms. Brayfield said, "We view off-site timeshare sales showrooms as a key part of our strategic growth plan for the future. According to our projections, following an initial start-up period each showroom can generate between $10 million to $12 million in annual timeshare sales to new members."

Based in Dallas, Texas, Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. currently owns and operates 13 timeshare resorts in various stages of development. Silverleaf resorts offer a wide array of country club-like amenities, such as golf, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and many organized activities for children and adults.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Michael Douglas' Hotel To Get $100 Million Timeshare Makeover

Ariel Sands, the Devonshire cottage colony owned by film star Michael Douglas’s family is going to be razed and rebuilt in a massive $100m timeshare makeover.

The actor attended a press conference today, Wednesday, with Tourism Minister Ewart Brown and new partners Hilton Grand Vacations Club to announce the plans, which will see the existing 47-room property transformed into a 214 timeshare room oasis.

Mr. Douglas said: “Ariel Sands has been in our family, the Dill family, for more than 50 years. As many of you also know, the cottage colony tourism business has been pretty rough the last 20 years. I’m very proud to announce, on behalf of Ariel Sands, a partnership with the Hilton Vacation Clubs.”

Mr. Douglas said he’s been talking about the plans with Government for the past few days and presented the idea to Cabinet. He said the development would be great for tourism, but also for Bermudians. Local staff will have the opportunity to train abroad and live on site with 16 staff rooms.

Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs is basically a high-end timeshare operation with more than 3,700 exchange opportunities.

Representative Bruce Sonneborn Jnr said the project would unfurl in phases. Once completed, it will be the ultimate in timeshare luxury living.

Referring to a report in Destinations Magazine he said: “The fractional interest property product is the hottest term in the high end housing market today.” He said the new Aerial Sands would be “two steps above” operations like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.

Mr. Douglas said his family would continue to have a “minority interest” in the property.

Dr. Brown paid tribute to the celebrity saying: ”This man has done more than a few things to help Bermuda. Obviously he is a mega star in his own line of work and wherever he goes he says good things about Bermuda — sometimes I wish we could expose him to other people in Bermuda so that they would feel the same way.”

The new timeshare property will be called The Hilton Club at Ariel Sands. The existing six condominiums will stay, but everything else is going to be replaced with a number of three-story buildings.

Dr. Brown continued: “In an effort to keep up with the changing timeshare times we are about to turn a new page in Bermuda’s tourism industry, and Government salutes Michael Douglas for being creative in actively courting this international brand.”
Finally, Douglas Timeshares.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Amid Fractional Frenzy, some Buyers Opt Not To Share

In the heat of Aspen’s fractional-ownership frenzy, a couple of new projects touting old-fashioned timeshare ownership — the kind in which the buyer isn’t sharing the home, or its price tag, with anyone else — are attracting attention.

The first 11 free-market condos at Monarch on the Park — part of the Limelite Lodge redevelopment — went on the market Saturday. By Wednesday, five of them had been reserved, according to local broker Rich Wagar of Rich Wagar Associates. In all, the project will include 14 condos across Monarch Street from Wagner Park.

Of the 13 single-family homes currently being offered across town at Fox Crossing, seven have been reserved, said Raifie Bass, broker/owner at Aspen Land & Homes Sotheby’s International Timeshare Realty.

Prospective timeshare fractional buyers are depositing $100,000 apiece for a piece of Monarch on the Park, a project that will offer an assortment of condos ranging in price from about $3.5 million to $7.5 million and in size from two-bedroom, two-bath units to a four-bed, four-and-a-half-bath condo.

While the purchase of fractional and timeshare units are dominating area real estate market at the moment — 27 out of 38 sales recorded last week in Pitkin County fell into that category — the opportunity to buy a wholly-owned, brand new residence in downtown Aspen is relatively rare, Wagar noted.

“You look at the market right now — as far as we know, these are the only 100 percent ownership units downtown right now,” he said.

Wagar doesn’t expect them to linger on the market.

“The sophisticated buyer knows the biggest buying season is in the summer,” he said. “If they want to come back during the summer, all the good stuff is going to be gone.”

Developer Greg Hills had three downtown single-family residences available at the Conner Lofts project on Hopkins Avenue, but one of them will be his family’s home and the other two Lofts lots were sold without ever formally putting them on the market. One went for about $2.25 million and the other fetched a little more than $2 million, he said. The buyers will build the planned residences, which Hills shepherded through the approval process, themselves.

Fox Crossing, outside the downtown core, will include 18 single-family homes on Aspen’s east side, in an area bounded by Lone Pine Road, Walnut and Race streets. Thirteen of them went on the market for reservation last fall, but interest heated up early this year when work began at the site, according to Bass.

“We really started getting a lot of activity when we started moving a lot of dirt,” he said.

Prospective timeshare buyers — seven so far — are putting up $25,000 that becomes part of a deposit equal to 10 percent of the purchase price to reserve a home. A house priced at $5 million, for example, will ultimately require $500,000 to reserve, Bass said. Two deals have been cemented and Bass expects two more shortly.

The smallest home at Fox Crossing will be about 3,600 square feet and four bedrooms, priced at $3.9 million. The largest, at 6,900 square feet and probably six bedrooms, is priced at $9.2 million, he said.

Buyers recognize a wholly-owned house in Aspen as an investment unlike timeshare that is likely to appreciate in value, or at least remain stable in the event of a significant national economic downturn, according to Bass.

“I think a lot of second-home owners started looking at their properties as a stable investment asset, not just a vacation home,” he said.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Timeshare and More In India

Think of Mahindra & Mahindra and it immediately conjures images of heavy-duty utility vehicles. But add the word 'Club' to it and all it translates into something fun, relaxation and family holidaying timeshare real estate.

Club Mahindra Holidays has over the years been successful in providing brand recall among its customers and it was its strategy that did the trick. Ramesh Ramanathan, its managing director says, "It was important for us to retain the Mahindra brand name but at the same time soften the product, hence the word 'Club'. I can say with confidence that Club Mahindra Holidays today has achieved what it had set out to do. Our brand is associated with the concept of holidaying with family." As one of the leading players of the timeshare segment in India and an affiliate of RCI (Resort Condominium International), Club Mahindra Holidays has chalked out ambitious growth and expansion plans for the coming years.”

To begin with, the company has changed the tagline with its logo. 'Holidays for a Lifetime' is now changed to 'Fun, Family, Forever' owing to its renewed emphasis on positioning its timeshare product as a complete family holiday brand.

With 80 per cent of its inventory dedicated to timeshare clients, Club Mahindra Holidays also has One Time Holiday (OTH) packages on offer. They are designed keeping in mind the essential elements of a holiday - fun, entertainment, adventure, indulgence and relaxation. This allows guests to holiday with the company even without a membership. While timeshare lifetime members can stay a week every year at any of its resorts or any RCI-affiliated resort in India for 25 years, they also automatically get a three-year membership with RCI that allows access to more than 3,700 locations around the world - at Indian rates.

With an objective of providing customer-friendly investment payment options, products and holiday combinations, the experts worked out various combinations and permutations during the initial period.

Ramanathan says, "We took a year to formulate the products. Our aim is to offer flexible products to people so that they could get the real value from timeshare. We worked towards loosening the concept making it more customer-friendly. We also provided a 30-day recession period for buyers or members to make up their minds regarding their timeshare. Our membership has shown growth over the years, which can be attributed to quality service and customer friendly holiday options. Our objective is clear, providing holidays designed specifically to cater to all ages and specific recreational facilities to ensure that every holiday is special."

As one of the leading players of the timeshare segment in India and an affiliate of RCI, Club Mahindra currently has 14 properties within its fold in various destinations including Goa, Munnar, Binsar, Manali, Mussoorie, Kufri, Bangkok, Corbett, Poovar, Coorg, Pattaya. Apart from this it also has villa-style accommodation at Ooty, Kodaikanal and Binsar.

Expansion extravaganza

As per the plans, the company aims to set up approximately 10 to 12 more properties in potential regions within of India in the next three to four years. This year will see three more additions - one in Rajasthan, one in Himachal Pradesh and a signature property at Corbett. The property in Rajasthan is a complete buy-out deal and will have villa-style accommodation coupled with other highlights for the family. The investment in HP will be a lease agreement and will also have villa-style accommodation. The facilities in Rajasthan and HP are scheduled to be operational by the first half of 2006. Corbett on the other hand is scheduled to open by the end of 2006.

The latest addition on the Club Mahindra list of properties is the one at Coorg called Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley Resort that has 62 apartment units. Apart from these destinations, the company is actively surveying other regions in India including Jammu & Kashmir and Goa for potential investment. Club Mahindra is also contemplating to extend its brand name further on the international circuit. Though the set is already taken, the company intends to expand its base in the Asia-Pacific belt. Ramanathan says, "All Club Mahindra properties are in the nature of `mixed use properties' which means that even non time-share members would get a chance to holiday at the hotel, which allocates a percentage of rooms for regular hotel bookings. All future properties will also follow this module, which provides clients a chance to experience the product before deciding to buy timeshare."

The company has its investment strategy in place. It places faith in the catalogue value of the place, which in turn decides the inventory and number of projects to be launched in the region. Nature of the place, its ambience and its market demand will decide whether the investment will be a small or big, villa-style accommodation or a regular hotel style resort. Concludes Ramanathan, "India is no doubt on a take-off stage in the area of tourism and the future will only witness an increase in demand for holidays. Road tourism is yet another facilitator that would further boost traffic on the Indian domestic scene. Club Mahindra's mission is to enrich and enliven people's lives by making family holidays a part of their lifestyle and we are confident of achieving it."

Club Mahindra Holidays is the only Lifetime Holidays Company that has been authorised by the Department of Tourism, government of India to host the 'Incredible India' campaign on its website. Two of its properties - The Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort, Goa and Lakeview Resort, Munnar - have won an RCI Gold Crown Timeshare Real Estate Award each year since its inception.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Blixseth Hires Hotel Veteran To Run High-End Timeshare Resort

Forbes 400 member Timothy Blixseth has hired a top Hilton Hotels executive, Dieter Huckestein, to run his new Yellowstone Club World, perhaps the highest priced vacation timeshare resort club to date. Blixseth, a timber baron who owns the Yellowstone Club, a private ski-and-golf-community in Montana, joined the Forbes 400 at number 346 in 2005 with a net worth of $1 billion.

He has purchased nine timeshare resort locations around the world for the Yellowstone Club World including two chateaux in France, a private golf course in Scotland and beachfront property north of Manzanillo, Mexico. He plans to add one more for a total of ten timeshare resorts. Members can stay in one of the resorts, and use the private plane or one of two yachts.

The first 100 Yellowstone Club World memberships will sell for a one-time fee of between $3 million and $4.5 million, depending when they're purchased. The number of members will likely be capped at 150, says Blixseth. Existing members of the Yellowstone Club in Montana can purchase Club World memberships for a bargain price of between $1.5 million to $2.25 million. Blixseth says he is spending around $350 million to purchase and build out or refurbish the properties for his World Club.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Putting On The Timeshare Ritz of Real Estate

Coming on the heels of the quickly sold-out St. Regis project, buyers are chomping at the bit for units in the Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences project at 690 Market St., a joint venture between the Ritz-Carlton and Alameda-based timeshare developer Jim Hunter.

In the first five days since the developers started accepting reservations for the 101 units in the old Chronicle Building, would-be Ritz-Carlton clubbers have plunked down 60 reservation deposits for a piece of the 1890 building, according to Robert van Dijk, the project's director of sales and marketing. Of the 60, 18 are for condos, and 42 are for monthly slots at the project's timeshare fractional ownership units. Owners of timeshare fractional units pay $200,000 to $300,000 for a one-twelfth, deeded interest.

All potential owners who have put money down on a private residence, have also reserved a fractional timeshare, said van Dijk.

"They are looking at the fractional shares and saying, 'this will be my guest house.'" said van Dijk. "These are individuals used to having a guest house."

In order to reserve a condo, a prospective buyer must put down $100,000 for a one-bedroom, $150,000 for a two-bedroom, $200,000 for a three-bedroom, or $250,000 for a penthouse. The building's four penthouses are already reserved, although reservations are refundable until May 20. At that time buyers will have to put down 10 percent for their units, which are expected to fetch between $1.1 million for a one-bedroom and upwards of $5 million for a penthouse.

Van Dijk said potential buyers include Bay Area empty-nesters as well East Coast and Southern California residents. He said the challenge is to educate prospective buyers about fractional ownership, which is often perceived as a glorified timeshare. The main difference is that fractional owners own a piece of the unit rather than simply the right to use it, which can make it easier to finance or sell. Ritz-Carlton is pitching fractional interest as an alternative to buying a second home. Club members will have sole access to a spa and clubhouse and may visit other Ritz-Carlton Clubs including Aspen Highlands, St. Thomas and South Beach, Fla.

"Our goal is to help families improve their leisure portfolio," he said.

The developers have also shelled out $13.5 million to acquire 660 Market St., the office building next door. Hunter said they plan to build an underground parking garage for the Ritz project there and the ground floor will be used as a Ritz-Carlton sales office. He said 660 Market St. could eventually house amenities for the Ritz building, or possibly even additional condos, although it also may remain office space.

"It's a very pretty building and it's going to match nicely with the Chronicle Building," he said. "We don't know what we'll do with it, but we're definitely going to make it look good."

Built in 1890, the 16-story building was the first skyscraper in the West and home to the Daily Dramatic Chronicle newspaper.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


RCI Announces Timeshare Real Estate Symposium

RCI, the shared ownership and travel exchange company, is to host a two-day conference and workshop programme covering the timeshare and shared ownership sector. Under the theme of New Horizons in Shared Ownership, the event is co-hosted by RCI’s parent company, Cendant Vacation Network Group, and specialist industry consultants, Ragatz Consulting. Set to take place at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai from April 28-29, the event aims to attract business investors, real estate developers and specialists from the industry.

The shared leisure timeshare real estate market is booming globally and clearly possesses great potential for investors within the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Timeshare real estate growth worldwide over the next five years is expected to be around 50%, but probably greater than that in the Gulf area, where so many major tourism developments are underway. RCI’s Middle East operation, now head- quartered in Dubai, aims to use the symposium as a means of explaining how the shared ownership sector can play a pivotal role in making these developments a success.

“There is tremendous timeshare real estate and tourism development here, the industry is booming here in Dubai. [Timeshare] is a brilliant business model for Dubai when you think of the volume of timeshare real estate. In this region, in 10 years time, I can see there being an additional 500-1,000 timeshare resorts,” Preben Vestdam, president and CEO for Europe and the Middle East, told Hotelier.

The first day includes an educational workshop aimed at those who have little or no experience of the industry. This offers an introduction explaining why shared ownership concepts are relevant to the real estate local market.

The second day includes a comprehensive programme covering relevant aspects of the shared ownership sector. The format will include presentations and panel debates.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Carlsbad, California Broker Approved by RCI as RCI Timeshare Points Seller

A licensed real estate broker in Carlsbad, California has been approved by RCI to handle sales of RCI Timeshare Points at Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge, Canada.

RCI is the world's oldest and largest vacation timeshare exchange company, with over 3700 affiliated resorts world wide.

The RCI Exchange Programs Resellers Acknowledgement was signed between Paradise Canyon Golf Resort, RCI, and Challenger Enterprises Services, Inc. dba Timeshare Resales Worldwide at 201 Oak Avenue, Suite C, Carlsbad, CA 92008.

Says Larry Hayden, President of Timeshare Resales Worldwide, "I am proud to represent RCI Points sales for this beautiful resort. Paradise Canyon Golf Resort is not only a superb RCI Gold Crown resort, it also has southern Alberta's number one rated golf resort and activities galore in the scenic surrounding area."

RCI Gold Crown is RCI's resort recognition program honoring resorts that offer superior vacation experiences. The Gold Crown award requires resorts to meet more stringent standards in the areas of resort amenities, unit amenities, and guest services.

Timeshare Resales Worldwide's RCI Points home page with extensive RCI Points information is located online at EZ Timeshare.

Timeshare Resales Worldwide is America's oldest online timeshare company with over 9,000 timeshare resale listings in worldwide timeshare resorts.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Park Boots 15 Tenants To Land Trendwest Timeshare Real Estate

In about a month, the Conejos Executive Offices in northeast Albuquerque will be no more. That's when an out-of-state company will take the place of the more than a dozen businesses that currently reside there.

The owner of the Conejos Office Park has decided that its 8,000-square-foot building, Conejos Executive Offices, is better suited for one lease, rather than 15, and that lease is going to the Redmond, Wash. based-timeshare real estate company Trendwest Resorts.

Trendwest first approached Vista Hills Partners, the owner of the five-building office park last October, but it took several months before Vista Hills made any kind of determination.

Knight Seavey, a principal in Vista Hills, says they timed the transition around when their existing tenants' leases were up for renewal. The 15 businesses were either on six month or month-to-month leases. A letter notifying the tenants about the closure of the office park was sent out in mid-January, giving the businesses more than two months to find another location. Everyone is expected to be out by the end of March.

"Even when it works perfectly, executive office buildings won't work as well as a single user," says Seavey, who also is the owner of Insite Works, an architectural firm that designed and developed the buildings within the Conejos Office Park.

Trendwest Timeshare real Estate will start making improvements to the building at the beginning of April, with a move-in date slated for May. The timeshare business, which is part of Cendant Timeshare Resort Group of Orlando, Fla., plans to hire 40 to 45 people for its Albuquerque office, including sales, marketing and telemarketing positions.

The move to New Mexico, says Bill Ford, a vice president with Trendwest, was a natural expansion, since the company has locations in surrounding states.

Trendwest's network operates 59 WorldMark resorts in the U.S. and international locations such as Mexico and Australia. Trendwest Timeshare is the exclusive developer and marketer of WorldMark, The Club, whose clients purchase ownership interest in the club through Trendwest. Instead of receiving a deeded ownership, timeshare owners buy vacation "credits" that they spend like currency on resorts within the WorldMark network, allowing owners the ability to spend them whenever and wherever they want.

While the news came as a surprise to the business owners at the Conejos Executive Offices, sending them scrambling for places to move to, many were appreciative of the time they were given to find additional space.

"But, it was still a frenzy here for a short time," says James Korenchen, president of James Korenchen Public Relations. Korenchen estimates the move will end up costing him thousands of dollars, including cost considerations such as new collateral materials.

Down the hall, Tom Duncan, president of Duncan Building Contractors, says his business will probably end up spending about $3,000 in unexpected costs, adding that the building's owners managed to eliminate one of the biggest potential hassles. Vista Hills is allowing all of its tenants to keep their existing phone numbers.

One of the office's larger tenants, Humana MarketPoint, recently signed a 4,000-square-foot lease in another building Seavey is part owner in on Jefferson and Alameda. Other businesses, such as Ajilon Finance, were already planning on moving.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Fire destroys Timeshare Real Estate Unit At Fairfield Glade

Fire officials still do not know the exact cause of the fire that swept through one unit of a timeshare real estate complex in Fairfield Glade Monday morning but quick response by three area fire departments kept the blaze from spreading to adjacent timeshare units.

It was mid-morning when Fairfield Glade Security was contacted about smoke coming from one of the units at Kensington Woods off Fairfield Boulevard and a security officer was dispatched to the scene and confirmed that a working fire was under way.

Fairfield Glade Fire Department responded and set up a water supply to fight the fire and started measures to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacenttimeshare real estate unit. When firefighters arrived, fire had already broken through the exterior walls and backside roof.

A call for mutual aid was sent out to the Cumberland County Fire Department and moments later Crossville City Fire Department with both departments sending multiple units and manpower.

Fire departments remained on the scene for several hours. While cause of the fire remains under investigation, it is believed the fire started in a bedroom of the timeshare unit that had been occupied the night before by three people.

The occupants had already checked out and were gone by the time the fire was discovered, Fairfield Glade interim Fire Chief Bob Citkovic told the Glade Sun.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Bluegreen Acquires Oceanfront Resort In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Expands Timeshare Real Estate Presence Along Florida's Gulf Coast

Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE:BXG), a leading provider of leisure products and lifestyle choices, today announced that it has acquired a 19-story, 144-unit oceanfront resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, along with additional unsold timeshare inventory in South Carolina and the Gulf Coast of Florida. Terms were not disclosed.

Bluegreen acquired the 19-story tower building at The Yachtsman Resort Hotel ("Yachtsman") located at 1400 N. Ocean Boulevard, in the heart of Myrtle Beach. As part of the acquisition, Bluegreen also acquired: 287 weeks of unsold timeshare inventory in buildings adjacent to the Yachtsman, which are currently operated as vacation ownership residences; 28 weeks of unsold timeshare inventory at Island Gulf Resort in Madeira Beach, FL and Sand Pebble Resort in Treasure Island, FL, both located on Florida's Gulf Coast; and resort management contracts at the Island Gulf and Sand Pebble resorts.

Bluegreen plans to convert the 72 studio and 72 one-bedroom units at the Yachtsman into 142 one-bedroom Carolina vacation time share residences for availability early in the second quarter of 2006. The resort will become part of the Bluegreen Vacation Club(R) network of premier owned and managed Club Resorts, and will be renamed SeaGlass Tower(TM).

All vacation timeshare ownership residences at SeaGlass Tower(TM) will feature a private balcony, fully-equipped kitchens and a whirlpool bath. Amenities will include an indoor swimming pool, spa and two saunas, as well as access to two outdoor swimming pools.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. Announces Property Acquisition For More Timeshare Property

Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. (AMEX:SVL) today announced that the Company has acquired 81 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to one of its existing destination resorts, Holiday Hills Resort near Branson, Missouri. The newly acquired tract, purchased for approximately $1.0 million, can accommodate up to 456 new timeshare units and related amenities, including a proposed nine hole par three golf course expansion to the existing eighteen hole regulation golf course. There are currently 422 timeshare units at Holiday Hills Timeshare Resort.

Development of the property is subject to Silverleaf receiving all state and local governmental approvals necessary for timeshare operations. Extensive additional planning and pre-development work must be completed before initial capital expenditure projections for the project can be finalized.

Sharon K. Brayfield, President of Silverleaf, commented, "Branson remains a popular destination for all those who love country music and variety shows, in addition to the beauty of the lakes and hills of the Ozark region. Holiday Hills is one of our fastest growing timeshare resorts, so this is a significant opportunity to expand our capacity to provide attractive vacation alternatives to our customers in this key destination vacation market."

The Timeshare Company also announced it will release its 2005 results and provide 2006 guidance on March 7, 2006.

Based in Dallas, Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. currently owns and operates 13 timeshare resorts in various stages of development. Silverleaf Resorts offer a wide array of country club-like amenities, such as golf, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and many organized activities for children and adults.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?