Ryman Hospitality to Acquire JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort from Blackstone REIT for $800M

by John Nelson

SAN ANTONIO — Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. (NYSE: RHP) has entered into a definitive agreement with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc. (BREIT) to purchase the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort for $800 million. The 640-acre resort opened in 2010 and includes 1,002 rooms and 268,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces. BREIT has owned the property since 2018.

Ryman plans for the resort to continue to operate under the JW Marriott flag. The Nashville-based lodging and hospitality REIT now owns two of the largest group-oriented resorts in Texas, with the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine being the other.

“We identified the JW Marriott Hill Country as an ideal acquisition target quite some time ago,” says Mark Fioravanti, president and CEO of Ryman Hospitality. “Located in an attractive and growing market with no emerging competitive supply, this beautiful resort is a natural complement to our existing Gaylord Hotels portfolio and offers significant opportunities to serve the group and leisure sides of our business.”

“This sale, which generates approximately $275 million in profit over a five-year hold period through Covid, represents a terrific outcome for BREIT shareholders,” says Nadeem Meghji, head of Blackstone Real Estate Americas. Meghji adds that Ryman’s offer to acquire JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country was unsolicited.

Amenities at the resort include the 26,000-square-foot Lantana Spa; eight food-and-beverage outlets; the nine-acre River Bluff water experience; and TPC San Antonio, which features two 18-hole golf courses: the Greg Norman-designed Oaks Course and the Pete Dye-designed Canyons course. General contractor HR Construction and architect Seifert Murphy led renovations at the resort in 2019.

Ryman and BREIT expect to close the acquisition during the second or third quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions. Ryman’s consultants on the acquisition includes financial advisor BofA Securities and legal advisors Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and Greenberg Traurig LLP.

BREIT’s financial advisors include Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Eastdil Secured, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Santander US Capital Markets LLC, Scotiabank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) and Wells Fargo. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as the firm’s legal advisor.

Ryman Hospitality owns five of the top 10 largest non-gaming convention center hotels in the United States based on total indoor meeting space. The company’s holdings include several Gaylord-branded properties and two hotels under the Marriott International flag that total 10,412 hotel rooms and 2.8 million square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

The firm also owns a 70 percent interest in Opry Entertainment Group, which operates country music brands and venues including the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Ryman Hospitality’s stock price closed on Monday, June 5 at $96.54 per share, up slightly from $95.13 a year ago.

Blackstone REIT is based in New York City and is managed by a subsidiary of Blackstone (NYSE: BX). The company’s real estate assets under management total $332 billion.

— John Nelson

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