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Allegiant lands $350M loan for Florida resort project

Allegiant Air’s parent company has obtained a $350 million loan for its Florida resort project, a venture the airline suspended when the pandemic hit.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. announced Thursday that investment firm Castlelake provided a loan to fund construction of Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor. The riverfront project is slated to feature 500-plus hotel rooms, more than 180 extended-stay suites, 55,000 square feet of conference space, and 19 restaurants and bars.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Allegiant can borrow up to $350 million from Castlelake, with $175 million to be advanced before the end of this month and the rest issued in two batches, scheduled for April and October of 2022.

The loan had been expected. This summer, Allegiant Chairman and CEO Maurice “Maury” Gallagher told analysts the airline would resume construction of the resort, with Allegiant President John Redmond reporting the company had reached a deal to borrow $350 million for the project.

Allegiant — known for flying from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, usually without competition on its routes — held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Sunseeker in March 2019, about 2½ years after Redmond, a former casino executive, was named company president.

The carrier also obtained a $175 million construction loan in March 2019 to fund the first phase of Sunseeker.

However, Allegiant suspended construction of the resort in March 2020 amid the early chaos of the coronavirus outbreak, part of its sweeping efforts to save cash as the tourism industry, including in Las Vegas, largely ground to a halt.

It also came to an agreement with its lender to terminate the initial loan.

Gallagher told analysts this summer that Sunseeker is in the middle of “perhaps the best leisure vacation area in the country” and is “easy driving distance” from three of Allegiant’s top-performing markets: St. Pete-Clearwater, Punta Gorda and Sarasota.

The carrier resumed construction of Sunseeker in August.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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