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BEDFORD, PA-A partnership led by Mark Langdale, US ambassador to Costa Rica, is in the final stages of redeveloping the historic 2,274-acre Bedford Springs Resort, which closed its doors in 1986. The investors bought the asset from Bedford County in 1998 for $8 million with plans to invest $90 million into its restoration, but the cost has climbed to $108 million.

Bedford Resort Partners Ltd., picking up extra funds, is on track to reopen the resort in May 2007. In 1984, the resort was designated a national historic landmark and put on the National Trust’s endangered property list. At that time, the Commonwealth awarded a $26-million grant to the county to acquire, preserve and redevelop the property.

After the partnership took over, another five years went into the architectural plans and accumulation of funding to restore the 216-room hotel and 21 other structures, which date back to the 1790s, along with a golf course originally in 1895 and redone in the 1920s by well-known Scottish course designer Donald Ross.

The partnership and Cleveland-based Ferchill Group lined up $88.5 million in financing. It included federal, state and county tax credits and infrastructure grants, a $38.7-million first mortgage from Minneapolis-based Marshall Group, an unspecified bridge loan from Greensburg, PA-based Thistle Financial Group and $4.4 million from Langdale. Prior to his ambassadorship, Langdale headed Dallas-based Posadas USA Inc., the US affiliate of Grupo Posadas, a hotel management group based in Mexico City.

“The redevelopment cost was more than anticipated,” Spencer Garfield, managing director of New York City-based Hudson Realty Capital LLC, tells GlobeSt.com. As a result, Hudson Realty has provided a 24-month, $8.4-million second mortgage. “We filled the gap,” he says.

“The project has broad support from the state and the community and the sponsors have extensive experience in the hotel industry in the US and Latin America,” Garfield says. “Furthermore, they have enlisted tremendous expertise in respect to the project and construction management. There are just a handful of resorts nationwide with a potential draw of this kind.”

Garfield says the interest rate is “very competitively priced for subordinated debt.” The loan is collateralized by the property. Houston-based Benchmark Hospitality International is the property manager, which has appointed Rikki Boparai as the general manager. Boparai is already on site.

“When we undertook the restoration of this remarkable national landmark property, we understood early on that everything would need to be carefully researched and, if possible, properly and authentically restored,” Keith Evans, president of Bedford Resort Partners, says in a press release.

In addition to restoring the buildings and golf course, the project includes adding a new $1.5-million pool, spa, 15,000 sf of meeting and exhibit space and seven dining venues. With the grounds’ restoration, initiatives will be implemented to reverse damage to Shober’s Run stream channel, which is a native trout habitat, and the flood plain, which traverses the golf course.

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