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Private firms buy El San Juan Resort & Casino

El San Juan Hotel's iconic chandelier anchors the lobby area.

El San Juan Hotel’s iconic chandelier anchors the lobby area.

Asset management firm Fundamental Advisors LP announced Wednesday that along with partners León, Mayer & Co., and Aimbridge Hospitality, it has acquired the El San Juan Resort & Casino, a Hilton Hotel from an affiliate of Blackstone.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

El San Juan, established in 1957, is a landmark 387-room hotel in Isla Verde district of San Juan, and a member of the Hilton Worldwide system.

It houses an 11,000 square foot grand ballroom — the second largest in San Juan — three pools, nine award-winning restaurants, 15 active bars, lounges and nightclubs, a 7,500 square-foot casino and 12 beachfront acres.

Together with partners León Mayer and Aimbridge, Fundamental plans to significantly enhance the property’s offerings and revitalize the resort to its original splendor by capitalizing on the investor group’s expertise in the hospitality sector and experience in the region.

As part of a planned revitalization of the property, the investor group will upgrade the resort’s facilities through a yet-undisclosed substantial capital expenditure investment to create a true luxury lifestyle property.

“This project represents an exciting development for both future guests of El San Juan as well as the vibrant community that surrounds this historic property,” said Laurence Gottlieb, CEO of Fundamental.

“Fundamental has a long history of investing in Puerto Rico and we look forward to working with our partners as we return this iconic resort to its place as a world-class destination,” he said.

“With a portfolio of unique or underutilized municipal and hospitality real estate assets, we intend to leverage our expertise to ensure that El San Juan delivers an unparalleled and unforgettable experience for guests of this truly exceptional property,” he added.

Fundamental Advisors is a leading alternative asset manager dedicated to the municipal markets. León Mayer is a private equity and investment banking firm based in New York City and Miami.

“El San Juan is truly a one-of-a-kind property. We’re excited to partner with Fundamental and Aimbridge and look forward to leveraging our team’s strong connection to the Puerto Rican market and experience in hospitality, entertainment and real estate to elevate the physical condition and guest experience at El San Juan to a level that befits its historical status as an iconic luxury lifestyle resort and entertainment property,” said Andro Nodarse-León, of León Mayer.

The El San Juan had been under Hilton’s wing since 2008, when it took over that property, along with the Condado Plaza and the El Conquistador Golf Resort and Casino from LXR Luxury Resorts, the Blackstone affiliate involved in the deal.

On Wednesday, Hilton announced the permanent closing of the Condado Plaza casino, which translated into the loss of 150 jobs.

“With our principals having formerly served as the property’s operators, Aimbridge has long appreciated the remarkable vitality of El San Juan,” said Dave Johnson, President and CEO of Aimbridge Hospitality.  “Working with Fundamental and León Mayer, we are excited to use our deep expertise in hotel management to revitalize El San Juan, a property with a truly unique character and history.”

Aimbridge Hospitality is an independent hotel investment and management firm.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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