PHOENIX-CNL Hotels & Resorts Inc. will acquire the outstanding membership interests in Desert Ridge Resort Partners LLC, owner of the 950-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. The $65.3-million buyout, excluding closing costs, will close in two transactions before the second-quarter ends.

Located at 5530 E. Marriott Dr., Desert Ridge Resort & Spa was completed in July 2005. The Orlando-based CNL, which already owns 44% of the controlling ownership, is picking up 45.84% from Desert Ridge Resort Ltd., a corporation owned and controlled by CNL chairman James M. Seneff Jr. and vice chairman Robert A. Bourne, and 10.16% from Marriott Hotel Services Inc.

“The hotel began construction in late 2000. And at the time, new construction financing was pretty stringent,” says C. Brian Strickland, executive vice president and CFO with CNL Hotels & Resorts. “We structured the deal in this way to bring in other capital to assist in the new development. It was a great way to participate in a signature asset like this without complete exposure to all development risks at the time.”

Strickland says CNL will have full control, but Desert Ridge Resort & Spa will continue under Marriott’s management and branding. “We’re pleased with our relationship with Marriott,” he adds.

CNL is no stranger to the market, as it owns other hospitality properties in the area. But, Strickland confirms, there no definite plans for further investment in the region. “We’re comfortable with our exposure to the market right now,” he tells “We couldn’t say we wouldn’t be buying any more or that we didn’t have anything in pocket right now.”

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