Monday, July 24, 2006


Timeshares Will Become Available Near The Historic Area

A big timeshare company expects to invest about $150 million in its second project in Virginia - a new resort with about 500 timeshare units next to Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area.

Officials at Bluegreen Corp. - based in Boca Raton, Fla. - said the first 76 units, going in renovated hotel space, would become available as soon as the second quarter of 2007. Then about 400 timeshare units are scheduled to go in new buildings constructed in eight phases over 12 years.

Bluegreen - whose other Virginia property is the Shenandoah Crossing resort in Gordonsville, near Charlottesville - is entering a tourism market with a low hotel occupancy rate, averaging 47 percent in 2005. But company officials are optimistic, saying occupancy rates are generally higher for timeshare resorts. The average rate across the country in 2004 was 86 percent, according to a time share industry group.

"Williamsburg has been a great market for a lot of our competitors for a long time," said Doug Kinsey, Bluegreen's senior vice president of acquisitions and development. "We think demand in our system will be very high."

The company manages about 30 resorts across the country and has about 150,000 customers in its time share network. A trade magazine said it was the nation's fifth-largest timeshare company two years ago, behind - among others - giants like Marriott and Cendant.

For its new resort, Bluegreen has bought the 4.6-acre Patrick Henry Inn property on York Street, and it's in the process of buying the 18-acre Colonial Capitol Inn property on Penniman Street. The seller in each case is hotelier Hunter Vermillion.

Bluegreen will renovate the two hotel buildings on the Patrick Henry property. City officials said the company planned to tear down the Colonial Capitol Inn and other buildings on that property to make room for the new four-story timeshare buildings housing the later 400 units.

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