Deeds and WeedsDecember 6, 2009

Misery For Moguls

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Monday's Wall Street Journal has a feature on Robert Sillerman, famous as a wheeler-dealer of media properties, and his apparently very unhappy foray into the resort business. He's the developer of Temenos, intended as a splashy playground for the wealthy on Anguilla in the British West Indies.

The resort, only partially built, is out of money. Sillerman tells the Journal he expects to lose his entire $180 million investment in the project. Its Greg Norman-designed golf course (pictured) has shut down.

The article describes a handful of other big resort developments that are a) backed by business tycoons and b) struggling financially. Among the personalities: Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell (Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii), Beanie Baby founder Ty Warner (Four Seasons in New York and San Ysidro Ranch in California, among others), EBay founder Pierre Omidyar (Montage Resorts in California and soon to be in Utah), and Microsoft's Bill Gates (Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Terranea Resort in southern California).

"I think that I exhibited an element of hubris," Sillerman tells the Journal. Resort development "was not my area of expertise by any stretch of the imagination."

-- P.F.