$275 million deal to purchase famed Austin property hits sour note

Nashville-based Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., citing the rocky economic climate caused by the coronavirus pandemic, has announced its proposed $ 275 million purchase contract for the downtown Moody Theater complex anchored by the W Austin and ACL Live Hotel abandoned by Austin.

In December 2019, Ryman Hospitality Properties announced it would purchase the mixed-use Block 21 development from Stratus Properties Inc. in Austin. Now, Ryman is leaving the deal and paying Stratus Properties a $ 15 million cancellation fee. The $ 275 million deal would have included a $ 141 million in mortgage debt.

“In the current capital markets and economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have determined that it is currently not in the best interests of our shareholders to focus our resources and capital on this project. We sincerely regret that the current circumstances will not allow us to complete the acquisition, ”said Colin Reed, Chairman and CEO of Ryman, in a May 22 press release.

“We commend Stratus for successfully developing the Block 21 Complex,” added Reed, “and we know that it will continue to do well if its companies can return to full strength at the end of this global pandemic.”

In a May 22 press release, Beau Armstrong, chairman, president and CEO of Stratus Properties said Block 21 was “a huge asset” and that the company will now focus on the “continued success of the Austin project.”

“We are disappointed that the sale of Block 21 to Ryman will not be completed. However, we understand Ryman’s resignation in light of the intervening COVID-19 pandemic, ”said Armstrong. “Ryman’s experience and depth in both the hospitality and music industries would have been a significant addition to the Austin community. We have great respect for Ryman’s entire team and company and wish them all the best. “

Apart from the 251 rooms W Austin and Austin City Limits Live in the Moody Theater with 2,750 seats, Block 21 offers office and retail space as well as the 3TEN with 350 seats in the ACL live entertainment area.

Ryman would have added Block 21 to a portfolio that includes Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, as well as the Gaylord chain of hotels and resorts.

More than 100 potential buyers showed interest in buying Block 21 before Stratus selected Ryman as the winner.

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