VAIL, CO-Vail Resorts Inc. will pay $7.5 million for a majority interest in Rockresorts International LLC from Olympus Real Estate Partners and takes an option to pick up the balance by 2005. Closing is set for Nov. 1.

Rockresorts is a luxury resort hotel management company founded by the Rockefeller family. Also coming up at the closing is a $20-million down payment by Vail Resorts to Olympus for the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. The $25-million balance will be paid in two years. The 240-room hotel will be renamed the Lodge at Rancho Mirage and become the 11th Rockresorts in the portfolio. The deal also calls for five of Vail Resorts’ existing hotels, currently managed as independent properties, to be re-branded and managed by Rockresorts.

“Vail Resorts is embarking on a bold and important new strategic direction with our investment in the legendary resort hotel brand, Rockresorts,” says Adam Aaron, Vail Resorts’ chairman and CEO.

Clark W. Hanrattie, a partner with Olympus, says that “in Vail Resorts, we have found the ideal partners to accelerate,” a strategy of creating a world-class brand. Olympus, founded in 1994, has offices in New York City and Dallas.

On the closing day, Rockresorts International will become an independent subsidiary of Vail Resorts. The resort owner will control most operational decisions and will retain all of Rockresorts’ cash flow from current management contracts. Cash flow from new Rockresorts’ management contract will be split between the parties. By 2005, Vail Resorts will make an additional payment, to be determined later, for the balance of Olympus’ stake in Rockresorts.

The Rockresorts portfolio consists of five Olympus-owned luxury resort hotels: Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys; Equinox in Manchester Village, VT; La Posada Resorts & Spa in Santa Fe, NM; Rosario Resorts in the San Juan Islands, WA; and Casa Madrona in Sausalito, CA. Rockresorts will manage the resorts.

The five Vail Resorts being re-branded as Rockresorts are The Great Divide in Breckenridge, Lodge at Vail, Keystone Lodge and Beaver Creek’s Pines Lodge, all in Colorado, and River Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, WY.

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