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June 7, 2011 (Washington, DC) – Crimson Partners, in partnership with The Bernstein Companies and Rock Creek Property Group, announced today that they have acquired the land known as The Residences at River Marsh – approximately 73 acres of land surrounding the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort in Cambridge, Md. The partnership, River Marsh LLC, purchased the land from Wachovia Bank at a deep discount to the original loan amount. 

The land was originally entitled in 1999 as for-sale residential product and part of a master- development plan that included the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, which boasts a 400-room full-service hotel with a golf course, marina, spa and more than five dining facilities.

Beazer Homes and GMAC acquired the land in 2005 in a partnership from the original developer, with the intent of selling finished lots to Beazer Home’s home-building division. That business plan stalled with the economy in 2008, and Wachovia eventually foreclosed on the land in 2009.

The strategy of River Marsh LLC is to hold and market the land to builders that are capable of delivering residential product that embodies the best of the Eastern Shore. The acquisition includes 357 lots with a diverse mix of single-family sites, townhomes, villas and one 48-unit condominium pad located on the waterfront.

The majority of the sites are “shovel-ready” or nearly shovel-ready with roads, utilities and infrastructure already in place. All of the home sites either have either golf course views, Choptank River views – or both. During its ownership, Beazer Homes successfully delivered 48 condominium units and 20 townhomes, before the residential market turned. 

“This is a very exciting deal,” says Crimson Partner’s Christian Chambers, one of the firm’s partners.  “An acquisition like this will take patience and foresight.” Chambers is quite familiar with the property, as he was a key member of the original 1999 development team that acquired the initial 440-plus acres of land from the state of Maryland and developed the resort. That same team then ultimately sold the residential land to the Beazer Homes/GMAC venture.

Says Chambers, “We decided to acquire the land a second time, because this property is a real gem and well-worth the time and effort it will take to complete. However, with our low basis in the project, we offer an opportunistic plan in the short term.

“The River Marsh community is world class – with a fully constructed and operational 18-hole golf course, Hyatt Regency resort and unparalleled river amenities with deep water boat access,” he continues. “In addition, the Cambridge, Md., location equally draws buyers from the Washington, DC, metro area and to Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It’s really an ideal central point on the map – all without the horrendous beach traffic.” 

The original business plan from 1999 called for a slower, more methodical and intentional build-out; employing builders and ultimately delivering to homebuyers who will appreciate the lifestyle that the Eastern Shore offers inside the walls of a world-class resort.

“We plan to pick up the pieces with that in mind, all at a much lower cost to the builder and, ultimately, to the end-user homebuyer as well,” Chambers says.

About Crimson Partners:

Crimson Partners, started in 1991, is a real estate development and investment firm, specializing in land, adaptive reuse, speculative and build-to-suit commercial, residential and industrial projects. The firm is dedicated to delivering high quality, sustainable environments and superior management to its institutional and private sector clients and investors.

About The Bernstein Companies:

The Bernstein Companies is a vertically integrated, full service operating company that services specific client accounts by drawing on its resources to execute a comprehensive approach to its business that creates value for its clients by driving the value of its real estate. Founded in 1933, the third generation entrepreneurial based development, investment and management firm’s historical transactions have included 3,000 apartments and condominium units, 2,000 hotel rooms owned, developed and operated, and 5,000,000 square feet of commercial office space. 

About Rock Creek Property Group:

Rock Creek Property Group is a commercial real estate investment company based in Washington, DC, and with a second office in Bethesda, Md. Its principals own a diverse portfolio of office, industrial, multi-family and retail properties in the Mid-Atlantic Region totaling several hundred million dollars in value. The firm is currently in the process of deploying capital from its Opportunity Fund, targeting value-add assets in the $2 million to $50 million range, notes purchases, partnership interests and joint ventures.

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