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[IMGCAP(1)]DALLAS-Macfarlan Capital Partners LP, an industry-recognized contrarian, has cherry-picked five resorts and second-home communities in three states from Centex Destination Properties and absorbed its 135-employee hospitality operating group to launch the TerraMesa Resorts brand. The buyer predicts the build-out value will top $1 billion in five years.

“These are irreplaceable properties in unique mountain, lake and ocean locations. The market timing was right for us to make an investment in this space,” Dean Macfarlan, founder and managing partner of Dallas-based Macfarlan Capital Partners, tells GlobeSt.com. “We believe there is phenomenal long-term intrinsic value for our investors.” He says more than $180 million will be invested into finishing resorts and upgrading existing amenities in the next three to five years.

The acquisition spans 3,900 acres, of which 1,900 acres are available for development, 290 finished lots, 48 cottages, 27 condos and three marinas in resort-style wrappings with pools, hot tubs, canoe and kayak clubs, a nine-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course and hike and bike trails. The TerraMesa portfolio consists of six resorts, one of which was bought four months ago, the V at Lake Las Vegas, a land claim to the highest point overlooking the lake for an elite development in a 15th Century Florence design.

The just-bought package includes the Hollows at 19503 Old Burnet Rd. in Lago Vista, TX, which has a 221-slip marina and tram and a rating as Texas’ best marina. Situated on the north shore of Lake Travis, the resort has 400 developable acres and 95 existing single-family lots.

Also in Texas is the Waters at Horseshoe Bay Resort, with some of the last developable land fronting Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in the fabled Hill Country. It has 10 existing condos and an under-construction 100-slip marina. It is positioned 50 miles west of Austin.

The third Texas property is Pointe West, an oceanfront claim at 4161 Pointe West Dr. in Galveston. The value-add play has 300 developable acres, 42 existing single-family lots, ocean and bay frontage, fishing pier, trails and Sunset Beach pool club with two restaurants, game room, cabana, bar, pool and hot tubs.

[IMGCAP(2)]In western North Carolina, Macfarlan has taken over Bear Lake Reserve at 412 Lake Forest Dr. in Tuckasegee. Its value-add is 900 developable acres, 125 single-family lots, 48 cottages and access to a 400-acre private lake. It sports the Jack Nicklaus-designed Summit Golf Course and Lake Clubhouse with restaurant, fitness center, pool and hot tub. “It is 75% to 80% finished,” Macfarlan adds.

In New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the South Peak Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln is now in TerraMesa’s hands. It has 300 developable acres, 28 finished single-family lots, 17 condos in a true year-round, ski-in/ski-out resort with a recently finished quad lift at the heart of the land tract.

Macfarlan believes South Peak presents the greatest value-add. “I’m really excited about that being a really unique experience in the Northeast,” he says.

And Macfarlan believes the crown jewel is the Hollows, which earned the top ranking for its one mile of lake frontage and in-place infrastructure to produce finished lots on the remaining 300 acres.

The hospitality circuit had whispered last fall that Centex Destination Properties, a division of Dallas-based Centex Homes, was shopping its portfolio, but the rumor couldn’t be confirmed. Macfarlan says talks began 14 months ago for select resorts in the 10-asset portfolio. Florida wasn’t part of the pursuit due to the “difficult market,” he explains.

What Macfarlan did pick are “great assets with existing platforms that allow us to scale quickly” as he games out a plan to target buyers in the $300,000 to $650,000 price range in prized locations. He says the elite property sweep was based on resorts that he felt would translate into memory-making vacations for families. “I’ve always traveled to make memories and I return to places to create memories for my family,” he says.

Macfarlan Capital Partners will own the real estate and the TerraMesa Resorts & Hospitality Group on behalf of a sponsored fund fueled by US investors. “The chance to acquire exceptional assets with the execution team in place doesn’t come along very often,” Macfarlan says. Debt was placed with Colonial Bank and Bank of the Ozarks.

Scott Covington, the buyer’s COO, has been named president of TerraMesa Hospitality Group. The plan is to keep the existing property names as they build a multi-faceted brand that could include an exchange program among owners at the various properties, but not in a timeshare or fractional share sense–at least not at this time. What is clear is Macfarlan is not done buying. “We’re definitely looking to add more investments,” he says. The investment group has been funding hospitality loans nearly five years. It also is in a joint venture for a property in Italy.

“We do have some experience that made us confident in this space. But, we’re realists. The slowdown has affected all aspects of real estate ownership and our properties won’t be immune,” Macfarlan explains. “We are investing for the long haul and believe the underlying value of these resorts will create significant appreciation for our investors. Despite market fluctuations of for-sale properties, the underlying land values, we believe, will protect our downside.”

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