Boca Resort To Be Sold!

The man who started Dell Computers intends to buy the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The deal has not closed yet but it’s underway.

Michael Dell started MSD Capital in 1998 as an investment vehicle for his assets. Fortune magazine ranks Dell as the 39thrichest person in the world, with a net worth of nearly $30 billion.

MSD becomes the hotel’s ninth owner since its founding in 1926 by famed architect Addison Mizner. Other owners have included utilities magnate Clarence Geist, the Schine family, Arvida, VMS Realty Inc., Florida Panther Holdings, Blackstone Group, and Waldorf-Astoria.

John Tolbert, president and managing director of the resort, is optimistic to the point of giddy about the future of the property. He called MSD Capital “best in class” for hospitality standards and practices. “No one will care more for this resort,” Tolbert said. “They are the best owners since Addison Mizner.”

Dell is one of several mega-rich tech entrepreneurs who have been investing in luxury properties, which suffered much less than others during the Great Recession. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which is home to a pair of Four Seasons resorts. Through his Cascade Investment firm, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently has bought hotels in Atlanta, Houston and Mexico.

Elsewhere, MSD Capital recently announced a joint venture to renovate the Grand Hyatt next to Grand Central Station in Manhattan. MSD Capital acquired the Four Seasons Maui in 2004, the Four Seasons Hualalai in 2006 and Four Seasons Kona Village in 2007. MSD Capital is using architect Cesar Pelli to redesign the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.

The last two owners made roughly $600 million worth of upgrades to the Boca resort, which also includes the 26-story tower and the Boca Beach Club. Phases 2 and 3 of Via Mizner are under construction just west of the resort. They will feature a Mandarin Oriental hotel and a luxury condo whose owners will have hotel privileges.

In a way, MSD’s acquisition resets the resort to 1997. Huizenga formed an investment company for the money he amassed starting Waste Management and Blockbuster Video.

I will have more on this tomorrow.