Investment firms drop $70 million on Westin, Wildwood and Snowmass Conference Center

The Westin in Snowmass Village, seen here in May 2020, sold this week as part of a $70 million deal. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Investors who bought the Westin Snowmass Resort and other properties in Snowmass Village this week for $70 million plan to make the 254-guestroom property a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, according to a firm involved in the deal.

The sale of the Westin, the 151-room Wildwood Snowmass lodge and the18,000-square-foot Snowmass Conference Center was documented in a single transaction filed Wednesday in the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

The sellers were Starwood Capital Group and Wasserman Real Estate, which under the entity Silvertree Propco LLC bought the same properties for $42 million in June 2011 from the Burwell family of Minnesota. The next year they spent $55 million on an overhaul that included the rebranding of what had been the Silvertree Hotel & Conference Center into the Westin Snowmass and Snowmass Conference Center.

Property records identify the new owner as Snowmass Resort LLC, an affiliate of Atlanta-based High Street Real Estate Partners LLC.

High Street has partnered with other firms to buy and renovate such properties as the 1,231-room Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, the Hampton Inn Times Square North and Hilton Garden Inn Times Square in New York City, and King Charles Inn in Charleston, South Carolina, among other hotels.

Concerning the Snowmass deal, High Street Real Estate has partnered with Zurich-based firm ACRON Group, which buys and redevelops hotels and has an office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, focused on developments in the United States. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned from the Tulsa office. As well, an executive with Starwood Capital said the parties agreed to a confidentiality agreement about terms of the sale.

An announcement posted on its ACRON’s website, however, sheds light on the new owners’ plans going forward.

“Among others, the resort features two hotels, the Westin and the Wildwood, with a total of 405 rooms,” the announcement said. “ACRON acquired the complex, which already produces a stable cash flow, at a significant discount on replacement costs. In addition, some ($40 million) will be invested to convert the Westin into a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. This will position the property as one of the highest quality ski-in/ski-out resorts in Colorado.”

Four- and five-star member hotels of the Autograph Collection operate under their own names and not under the Marriott banner. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver is a member resort.

ACRON sought investors in the Snowmass deal for what a company document said was property being bought at a 20% discount and more than 50% of improvement costs.

“The value-add strategy is to improve the facilities in the dimension of ($40 million), change the hotel management ownership to Davidson Hotel & Resorts and re-brand the Westin Resort as an Autograph Collection by Marriott hotel,” according to online investment information. “ACRON pursued a similar business plan with the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel in San Francisco recently and increased the value of the property by 25% in only three years holding period.”

Also included in ACRON’s portfolio of U.S. hotels are the Kimpton Overland Hotel in Atlanta and The Sable in Chicago.

The Silvertree Hotel and the Snowmass Mall opened in 1967, the same year Aspen Skiing Corp. and the Janss Corp. opened Snowmass-at-Aspen, now called Snowmass Ski Area.

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