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A Reasonably Happy End (For Some) to The Reynolds Plantation Distress Saga

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Well, the Atlanta Business Chronicle got it half-right when they published a story a couple of weeks ago identifying the Alabama-based / Atlanta-player Daniel Corporation as the leading contender to buy the troubled Reynolds Plantation. Local and national press lit up yesterday afternoon with word that MetLife, the U.S.'s largest life insurance company (and owner of a $60 billion real estate portfolio) was actually the buyer for the resort on Lake Oconee, to be managed by Daniel. So ends the saga of one of the real estate crash's more notable flame-outs. At the peak of the real estate boom, Linger Longer Development- the real estate company built upon the Reynolds family's vast land holdings around Lake Oconee and led by two of its heirs- was among the Southeast's most respected and successful developers. But like so many others, their success (and banks' eagerness to lend to them based on it) was part of their undoing, as the company took on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to continue building out Reynolds Plantation and acquire other resort properties around the Southeast (ironically, some of them distressed). MetLife's purchase price is not public, but you can bet they got it at a steep discount. For homeowners at Reynolds, it's a happy ending to a long bad dream. Though the purchase won't necessarily offer a quick antidote to decimated real estate values, with an operator like Daniel at the helm and MetLife's stability and resources, the future is reasonably bright.

· MetLife to buy Reynolds Plantation [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· MetLife to Purchase Georgia’s Reynolds Plantation Resort [Bloomberg]