New York real estate firm getting in the Reunion vacation rental business

New York-based GMF Capital has invested nearly $11 million over the last few months to enter the luxury vacation rental market in Reunion Resort near Disney.

The firm bought five vacation homes in December -- including three in a single week -- and three vacant lots in the fall. The most expensive house, priced at $3 million, is a six-bedroom, six-bath home on Golden Bear Drive overlooking the Jack Nicklaus golf course. 

Completed in 2016, the house sleeps 12 and rented for between $475 and $625 per night at the time of the sale.

Jeeves Realty agent Jeremy Sainlar represented GMF on all of the transactions. "They were very selective in their process," he said. "They definitely have a model they use. It's not emotional for them. It's all about the numbers."

In addition to the Reunion location, Sainlar told GrowthSpotter all of the homes share some common characteristics.

"What’s unique about all of them is they were built by one of the most sought-after custom homebuilders in Reunion  -- Triton Builders," Sainlar said. "So regardless of the size, they had the same quality of build, spec level, finishes and rental numbers."

The portfolio included a pair of 9-bedroom vacation homes: one on Grand Traverse Parkway for $2.45 million and another on Muirfield Loop for $2.4 million. Both are fully furnished with resort-style pools, theater rooms and themed guest rooms. Rental rates for those properties start at $1,200 per night.

At nearly 10,000 square feet, the Muirfield Loop mansion is the largest of the five properties. Built on a double lot, it features a circular driveway and two-car garage with an additional golf-cart garage, an elevator, a private gym with sauna and upstairs and downstairs game rooms. The house was completed in 2012. 

"That was the home that really propelled Reunion as a market for custom-built, luxury vacation rental homes," Sainlar said. "It has been a great performer over the years, and it met or exceeded what (GMF) was looking to accomplish."

The seller, Peter Marples, was the founder of a British employment training company, 3aaa, which collapsed last year under allegations of fraud.

In addition, GMF paid $824,000 in early December for a four-bedroom, five-bath vacation rental cottage on Loxahatchee Court, just off Golden Bear Drive in Reunion. In late December the firm paid $850,000 for a six-bedroom, five and half-bath cottage on Castle Pines Court, overlooking the Nicklaus course.

GMF sourced a $6.2 million loan from FOA Commercial for the five vacation home purchases. The properties are now being managed by Jeeves Florida Rentals, which provides concierge and in-house services ranging from babysitters to chef-prepared meals.

GMF also has purchased three vacant lots in the resort community in late 2018.

GMF's real estate portfolio largely consists of class-B multifamily housing, but the firm also has investments in the office, student housing, senior housing and hospitality sectors. The firm owns two hotel properties valued at more than $250 million, according to the company website. 

Stephen Lobell, managing director for capital investments, is identified a the president of the GMF affliate company used to buy the real estate. Lobell founded SL Online Ventures, which is focused on high-end travel and entertainment programs as well as technology venture capital. 

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