Wednesday, April 21, 2010

$55 Million Net Lease Leaves Harbor

On March 17th CNL Lifestyle Properties, an Orlando based REIT, acquired four California triple net lease marinas (the Anacapa Isle Marina is pictured above) through sale-leaseback deals worth a total of $55 million. The marinas are strategically located next to California’s three largest cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose and add 1,984 boat slips to CNL Lifestyle properties marina portfolio (19 in all). Almar Management, the current operator, will continue to run the marinas and according to Almar’s CEO Randy Short, the deal will enable them to “focus on property enhancements that improve the experience for our boaters and their families”. These deals represent an interesting upsurge in non-traditional net lease activity.

CNL Lifestyle Properties focuses on “lifestyle” assets, such as golf courses, ski resorts, marinas and various other attractions. Their portfolio contains properties which are almost always structured as triple net leases and provides an intriguing investment angle. According to Byron Carlock, President of CNL Lifestyle Properties, these assets are “supply constrained”, ensuring a low threat of new entrants and stable demand. He also noted that though spending had decreased during the recession, attendance actually remained consistent, demonstrating stability in demand. Furthermore, CNL did not encounter a bankruptcy or default in any of its assets.

This year, CNL plans to invest $300-400 million in new lifestyle assets. Their conservative financial strategy has created a portfolio that is 28% leveraged by debt, though their long term target is 50%. Mr. Carlock noted their properties receive a high level of return due to their portfolio being acquired at around an 11% cap rate. He also interprets an increased interest in the market as more private equity firms look to enter the lifestyle area.

Though for many, the term “net lease” conjures up images of mundane grocery stores, Walgreens, and McDonalds, there is actually a diverse array of triple net properties in existence. This is no better highlighted than by the “lifestyle” assets which CNL Lifestyle Properties specializes in. Though the recession may have hit people hard, many still find ways to enjoy themselves and take part in their hobbies. As Mr. Carlock observed, “pursuing ones passions does not involve extravagance”.

This article was contributed to by Mr. Byron Carlock, Jr. president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties,Inc., an unlisted real estate investment trust that owns a portfolio of 119 lifestyle properties in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, CNL Lifestyle Properties specializes in the acquisition of ski and mountain lifestyle, attraction, golf and other lifestyle assets.

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