Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Travel & Tourism

Restaurant company selling foreign land to Disney

October 23, 2018
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A local restaurant company is selling part of an undeveloped peninsula it co-owns in The Bahamas to Disney’s cruise line business.

Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group said yesterday the National Economic Council of The Bahamas approved on Oct. 19 a proposal submitted by Disney Cruise Line Island Development to acquire and develop property Meritage co-owns with the Related Group out of Miami.

The partners own 765 acres of "fee property," a peninsula known as Lighthouse Point, on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas.

They have entered into an agreement to sell a majority of the peninsula to Disney, subject to government approvals, as is customary in The Bahamas.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Meritage said it will use proceeds from the pending transaction for general corporate purposes, including new restaurant development, acquisitions, dividend distributions and stock buybacks.

“Few organizations in the world possess the financial resources, development expertise, global track record of preserving the natural environmental and the ability to showcase cultural heritage like Disney,” said Robert Schermer, CEO, Meritage Hospitality Group.

“We are proud of the association and confident that Disney will be a world-class steward of Lighthouse Point, creating a transformational economic opportunity for many deserving people of south Eleuthera.”

Disney has previously reported it is prepared to invest up to $400 million in the property for the development of a cruise ship port facility, as part of a plan to double the capacity of Disney Cruise Line in the next five years.

Meritage

Meritage Hospitality Group (OTCQX: MHGU) operates 311 restaurants in numerous states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

It has about 10,000 employees.

It operates restaurants under several brands: Wendy’s; Twisted Rooster; Stan Diego; Freighters Eatery & Taproom; and Wheelhouse.

Meritage reported 2017 sales of $312.6 million.

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