Las Vegas-based resort company to buy Gold Key Resorts vacation ownership business for $167 million
There's a new owner of timeshare properties coming to the boardwalk in Virginia Beach. Diamond Resorts International Inc., a Las Vegas manager and owner of vacation ownership resorts, said Monday that it has executed an agreement to purchase the vacation ownership business of Gold Key Resorts, a Virginia Beach company headed by Bruce Thompson, for $167.5 million.
The deal is expected to close following a two-month transition period. The portfolio includes five vacation ownership resorts in Virginia Beach and one on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It will give Diamond Resorts, a company that incorporated in 2013, a new market position in Virginia Beach.
“This is an exciting acquisition that provides us with a platform to expand into a new, complementary geography and owner base,” David Palmer, president and CEO of Diamond Resorts International, said in a statement.
Gold Key Resorts is a hospitality leader in Virginia Beach, and Thompson is a well-known regional developer. He heads Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts, which employs 2,400 to 3,000 people in its hotel and timeshare properties, with the flunctuation in workforce depending on the season. Gold Key is a subsidiary of the parent company that employs 1,000 employees on the timeshare resort side of the business. The company said in a statement to Virginia Business that it does not expect “any material reductions in the workforce that currently service the Gold Key timeshare properties …”
The company also said it will begin working immediately with Diamond Resorts on the transition, with the goal to transition 95 percent to 100 percent of the workers to either the new company or Gold Key PHR.
On the hotel side, Thompson’s company manages the Ramada Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront along with restaurants, retail and residential developments.
Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts purchased and is renovating the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach and also is developing The Main, soon to be downtown Norfolk’s newest restaurant, meeting and hotel destination.
“We are excited to enter into this agreement,” Thompson, CEO of Gold Key Resorts, said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Diamond Resorts during the transition phase and on an ongoing basis. The company was attracted to our world-class resorts on the East Coast and the professional team who have managed these properties …. This acquisition positions these properties for future growth within a very prestigious international portfolio with extensive offerings. Our owners will benefit from this tremendously.”
Asked what the company might do with proceeds from the sale, Thompson indicated that it would actively pursue hotel and commercial development to broaden its portfolio. “Gold Key | PHR fully expects to continue with its development efforts in the hospitality industry including hotels, resorts and restaurants. We are also exploring potential mixed-use developments. And, we are beginning to discuss joint efforts with Diamond Resorts International in developing new vacation-ownership properties in the region and the East Coast,” Thompson said.
The five Gold Key properties in Virginia Beach are Beach Quarters Resort, Turtle Cay Resort, Boardwalk Resort and Villas, Ocean Beach Club Resort and Oceanaire Resort Hotel in Virginia Beach.
The property in Kitty Hawk is Beachwoods. Gold Key purchased it in 2014, and the company said it had been making extensive improvements to reposition the property as a four-season resort.
Diamond Resorts International operates in the hospitality and vacation ownership industries. It has a network of more than 330 vacation destinations located in 34 countries. The company manages timeshare resorts and sells vacation ownership points that provide members and owners with vacations at Diamond Resort’s properties and affiliated properties and cruise itineraries.