Lansdowne Looks for Help

With Planned Expansion

Lansdowne Resort, the Leesburg spa, golf course and conference center, seeks an equity joint-venture partner to help pay for an expansion that would cost $20 million to $25 million.

Geoffrey E. Davis, president of Hospitality Real Estate Counselors Investment Advisors, hired by Lansdowne's owners to find an equity partner, said he expects the company to close on a deal within four months. Talks began at the end of January.

"The response to a joint venture has been overly positive," he said. Davis said the company is looking for a partner willing to put up $10 million to $30 million to help with the expansion, which is to include an 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, expanded spa and ballroom.

Davis said the owner is "emphatically against" selling the 12-year-old property unless an unbeatable offer comes by.

Davis said the new money is sought primarily so the owner does not have to borrow more money than it has to. "Those projects right now can be built internally" with no added outside investment, he said.

"We felt the time was right to expand the resort, and at the same time find a good partner to help us fund that effort and solidify the ownership's capital structure going forward," Joel Stone, head of the Northbrook, Ill.-based ownership group, Stone Financial Group, said in a statement.

Manager for the Rich

Picks Up a Stockbroker

Baltimore-based stockbroker Peremel & Co. was bought by Mercantile Bankshares Corp. last week.

Peremel was founded in 1974 and specializes in discount brokerage. Mercantile's business is managing money for the super-rich and well-heeled institutions.

Baltimore-based Mercantile, which in recent months has bought or invested in a hedge-fund manager and two wealth management firms, did not have a full-service brokerage service for its clients. And Peremel is in its hometown.

Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed, but Peremel will operate as a separate unit of the bank and keep its name. Peremel & Co. founder Harold N. Peremel, who has been in the brokerage business for 42 years, is also staying on.

"I'm going to stay because I love what I do," he said.