AVON, Colorado – Like Mark Twain, reports of East West Partners’ demise are greatly exaggerated, said Harry Frampton.
East West Partners announced Monday a joint venture with the Starwood Capital Group for the Union Station neighborhood redevelopment project in downtown Denver. They’re looking around the country for other urban opportunities, said Frampton, managing partner and founder of East West Partners.
The Starwood deal comes on the heels of East West’s deal with KSL Capital.
“We have known and worked with the principals of KSL for many years, and we share a mutual admiration for our respective teams’ capabilities and experience. Together, we have the ability to build on each other’s strengths and take advantage of some exciting opportunities,” Frampton said.
The two new partnerships come as East West found itself incorrectly tagged in published reports about the plunge in the Northern California tourist market, Frampton said.
In February 2010, East West’s financial partner in the Northstar-Tahoe Ritz-Carlton had some severe problems that spilled over onto them, Frampton said. East West owned 20 percent of the Ritz.
Because that part of Northern California was pounded by the recession, and because their partner went out of business, they turned the project over the Bank of America, Frampton said.
East West pulled the project out of bankruptcy in July and raised $40 million.
“The project is back on track and doing well,” Frampton said.
Nothing in Northern California is connected in any way to anything of East West’s other projects around the country, and the Avon-based company remains solid, Frampton said.
That’s why they’ve been able to partner with Starwood and KSL, Frampton said.
“I can assure you that if we were in danger of going under, we wouldn’t have been able to put those partnerships together,” Frampton said.
Starwood seeking urban projects
East West’s latest joint venture with Starwood will focus on Denver’s LoDo neighborhood around Union Station, where the partnership controls several sites targeted for multifamily, office and hotel use. Union Station will become Denver’s new transit hub with almost $500 million of public investment in light rail, heavy rail and bus infrastructure.
The plan is for East West and Starwood to expand into other urban markets.
“We are excited to kick off this partnership with East West by investing in one of the top transit oriented downtown development projects in the U.S.,” said Ethan Bing, vice president of Starwood Capital Group.
Starwood Capital Group is a private, U.S.-based real estate investment firm founded in 1991. The firm has invested more than $9 billion of equity capital on almost $28 billion in assets around the world.
KSL, East West go back 25 years
East West and KSL have a 25-year history of developing resort real estate together, dating back to their founders’ common time in Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts.
With KSL, East West is looking for existing and new development opportunities in mountain, beach, and second-home resort real estate markets, especially projects in distress in need of completion.
KSL was founded by financier and part-time Vail resident Henry Kravis, former Vail Associates president Mike Shannon, former Vail Mountain operations director Larry Lichliter and former local Eric Resnick. KSL owns Squaw Valley USA, and is the largest owner of golf, country, and business and sports clubs in the world, with more than 150 destinations.
“We believe long-term demographics support continued second home ownership growth in unique and memorable destinations,” said Resnick, KSL’s managing director and co-founder. “East West has consistently been one of the premier developers of resort real estate for more than two decades.”
About East West Partners
East West was founded in 1986 with the purchase of a single piece of land in a then-emerging resort called Beaver Creek. Since then, East West Partners has developed more than $5 billion in real estate in resort and urban U.S. markets
“With Starwood Capital Group as our partner we now have the financial capability to begin new development in downtown Denver and expand to other select national markets,” said Mark Smith, founding partner of East West Partners-Denver.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.