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Yacht Haven Grande Announces Debt Restructuring

Sept. 2, 2008 — To assure the community about the company's financial stability, Yacht Haven Grande officials announced earlier this week that the company has finally completed the terms of a debt-restructuring agreement with its lenders.
In May, an article published on Bloomberg.com announced that Yacht Haven principal Andrew Farkas was in talks with the lenders to "avoid bankruptcy of his year-old mega yacht marina complex" on St. Thomas. Yacht Haven has suffered "economic difficulties," and its principal is expected to strike an agreement with banks "soon, so it won't be forced to seek protection from its creditors," the article says, quoting Farkas' spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. (See "Yacht Haven Principals Downplay Reports, Announce Efforts to Restructure Debt.")
However, Yacht Haven President Charles Garner has said there is "no expectation or intention" of bankruptcy. Instead, Island Global Yachting — Yacht Haven's parent company — has acquired the $120 million debt and will provide the financing needed to make additional investments and upgrades to the property, Garner said when contacted Tuesday.
"Yacht Haven Grande USVI, a subsidiary of Island Global Yachting, had originally taken on all of the debt and was using its own cash to pay it off," Garner explained. "When it could no longer afford to continue doing that, Island Global Yachting stepped in and purchased the debt from the bank, for an amount that we cannot disclose at this time. So the banks will exit the picture, and Island Global Yachting will handle the debt and provide the additional funds needed to make Yacht Haven more of a premiere destination on St. Thomas."
The restructuring will allow Yacht Haven to "move forward on more secure financial footing and continue its strategy for development," according to a news release from the company announcing the debt-restructuring agreement. Meanwhile, Island Global Yachting — headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — will put in an additional $10 million over the next few months to improve lights and signs at Yacht Haven Grande, along with completing the interior of the Yacht Club building and the construction of additional marina slips for yachts up to 70 feet.
"With the property now stabilized, Island Global Yachting will be focusing on the goal of designing and constructing a luxury hotel on site to bolster the strong tourism market on St. Thomas and to bring additional activity to Yacht Haven Grande," the news release said.
New retail stores will also open on the property before the start of the upcoming winter season, including Bella Vera, a luxury retailer of women's apparel; Gucci, which is building out its store at the west end of the mall; Kool Kidz; AT&T Wireless; Prana Spa; and a new hair and nail boutique.
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