duck key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys
























Rumors, Cay Clubs, The Singh Company, EarthMark,
and Hawk's Cay and now the Blackstone Group.

MARCH 2006

Over the years there have been numerous rumors that Hawk's Cay Resort has been sold or is close to being sold to the Sheraton or some other big hotel chain.
The latest "rumor" circulating on the island's coconut grapevine is that the resort will perhaps be sold to Cay Clubs International.

Although the sale of the resort has not been confirmed, what makes this rumor seem credible to so many is the buying spree that Cay Clubs has embarked on in the Keys this last year. That Hawk's Cay Resort would add to Cay Clubs mix of properties, and the recent layoffs at Hawk's Cay, and the buyout and retirement of resort president Don Johnson also lends credence to the rumor. Don Johnson is still on the scene for some reason however. People have speculated he remains at the helm because of an impending sale. There has been no announcement by Hawk's Cay to substantiate a sale.


Added May 2, 2006 -

At the April 29, 2006 meeting with unit owners of Hawk's Cay Village, Hawk's Cay Management stated the Blackstone Group was not involved in any discussions about the sale of Hawk's Cay. Management indicated there was no agreement at the time to sell Hawk's Cay. See Letter from Hawk's Cay Management to Villa owners.

At the HOA meeting a representative from Cay Clubs, referred to as a competitor by Hawk's Cay Resort management, was present. Club Cay and the Pritam Singh Company resently signed a merger agreement dealing with marketing and construction

During the last week of April, a team of surveyors was reported to be surveying on resort property.


Added April 24, 2006 -

A memorandum dated April 19, 2006 has been distributed to employees of Hawk's Cay from resort management which aims to

"address a rumor that has been circulating in the local community" and to "share . . . the facts of the situation.

" Recent statements were made that incorrectly identified Hawk's Cay as being purchased by an outside company. The company did purchase other properties in the Keys. At this time, the resort has not been sold.

Current market conditions have resulted in the sales of several properties in the Keys, and Hawk's Cay has been approached. Many times through the last two decades, we have been approached by parties interested in purchasing the resort. We have always taken these inquiries seriously and have carefully reviewed each opportunity to determine if it would be in the best interest of the resort, our employees, villa owners, and the community.

If and when the situation arises and it is beneficial to move forward, we will certainly inform our team and keep you updated through the process. Let's not allow these rumors to distract us from our mission of providing legendary service to our guests."

Some years ago at a time of another rumor of an impending sale, management sent letters to key supervisory personnel assuring them they would have months of continued employment should a sale occur.


Added April 3, 2006 -

The rumor persists and the "tale" takes on more specificity with a date mentioned for ratifying an agreement between parties. While second and third hand sources continue to report that this "story" has substance to it, another interested player, The Blackstone Group, may be courting Hawk's Cay. According to sources the name of the Blackstone Group has been mentioned by different parties in association with talk about the sale of Hawk's Cay.

Whether Cay Clubs, The Blackstone Group or some other entity merges or acquires Hawk's Cay there is the expectation an agreement, merger, or sale will be signified toward the later part of April, 2006.

It is also conjectured that Pritam Singh of the Singh Company has first right of refusal to match any offering made to purchase Hawk's Cay Resort, so it is possible that the Singh Company is a player in any negotiations involving a sale.


ADDED MARCH 2007 - Resort sold to the Bolinger Harvard / Northview Hotel Group


The Blackstone Group

According to information from the Blackstone Group website, the corporation is a private investment and advisory firm with a global reach. They have United States offices in the New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Abroad are offices in London, Hamburg, Mumbai and Paris. One aspect of Blackstone business is real estate. Their literature states they have raised approximately $10 billion for real estate investing and investing in hotels and other commercial properties.

According to a news release of February 21, 2006, a Blackstone affiliate signed a merger agreement with MeriStar Hospitality Corporation (NYSE: MHX), one of the nation’s largest hotel real estate investment trusts (REIT). The transaction valued at approximately $2.6 billion. Stockholders of the Meristar Hospitality Corporation will be asked to approve the transactions and pending approval it is expected the merger will close in the second quarter of 2006.

Also in February of 2006 a Blackstone affiliate purchased from MeriStar a portfolio of nine Florida hotels plus The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for approximately $367 million, subject to adjustments made at closing. The hotel properties (1,948 rooms) in the purchase include:

• Best Western Sanibel Island Beach Resort (46 rooms)
• Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront (296 rooms)
• Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort (426 rooms)
• Sanibel Inn (96 rooms)
• Seaside Inn (32 rooms)
Sheraton Beach Resort Key Largo (200 rooms)
• Song of the Sea (30 rooms)
South Seas Island Resort (579 rooms)
• Sundial Beach Resort (243 rooms)

All together the merger agreement with the MeriStar Hospitality Corporation would affect 57 principally upper-upscale, full-service hotels in major markets and resort locations with 16,507 rooms in 19 states and the District of Columbia, including 10 properties that are under contract to be sold to Blackstone. MeriStar owns hotels under such internationally known brands as Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Doubletree and Radisson.

Earlier in January of 2006 a merger agreement between The Blackstone Group and La Quinta was completed.

In 2005, The Blackstone Group acquired the Casa Marina and its sister property, The Reach Resort in Key West. The Casa Marina undergoing a 24 month renovation will be part of Blackstone's 21 property LXR Luxury Resorts Collection.

2004 - Extended Stay America (ESA), Studio Plus and Crosslands
Blackstone Group acquired a group of 475 hotels in 42 States which, combined with previously acquisitions, represents the largest group of extended stay lodgings in the US. ESA now operates 485 hotels with 51,596 rooms in the moderate price extended-stay format under the brands Extended Stay America,
ESA accounts for approximately 225,000 of the 4.4 million rooms in the U.S. lodging industry. Converted to dividend paying private REIT

1998 - The Savoy Group
Acquired a group of prestigious London hotels in 1998 and made significant additional investments in refurbishments and restructuring the group. 2003 - Sold Savoy Group at 1.8x return on investment.


Cay Clubs (Cay Clubs went bankrupt and link referenced below no longer on internet - notation made upon decovering dead link)

Walker's Cay has been sold to Cay Clubs and a brochure in pdf format on development plans for Walker's Cay is available on the internet at Then click on "Club Locations" in the top menu selections. Then click on "Walker's".


A different rumor which has been circulating about Cay Clubs and the Singh Company forming a partnership turned out to be true with its confirmation in a press release this month.

The news is that Cay Clubs will co-manage, sell and promote units at four of the Singh properties:

1. Tranquility Bay built on the site of the former Buccaneer Resort in Marathon - 87 two and three bedroom beach house condotel on 12 acres with a pool and 1,100 feet of beachfront. The resort also provides a conference space, fitness center, tiki bar on bay and a restaurant called Butterfly Cafe and watersport activities.

2. Indigo Reef Resort - 67 residential beach house units constructed on the grounds of the former Limetree Resort in Marathon.

3. Soon to be built Coral Lagoon Resort and Marina formerly the Boathouse Marina - 25 condotel residences, 200 dry slip racks with 78 wet slips.

4. Parrot Bay (formerly The Hampton Inn) at 2801 North Roosevelt Blvd. in Key West. - plans call for contruction of 74 three bedroom and three bath beach houses, two pools, cafe and tiki bar.
The Singh Company will be responsible for design and construction of future developments in the partnership, but as yet has not taken on this responsibility for any of the recent Cay Club acquisitions in the Marathon and Upper Keys areas.

Information on Cay Clubs International

Present Cay clubs include Clearwater Cay Club FL, Sarasota Cay Club FL, Tavernier Cay Club in the Keys and an off-water club, the Las Vegas Cay Club (future), as well as several other locations throughout Florida Keys.

Cay Clubs was formed by David Clark and David Schwarz. Before forming the Cay Club Companies, Dave Clark was CEO and founder of the EarthMark Companies. David Schwartz was CFO of the EarthMark Companies. See EarthMark bottom of this web page.

Official text of Cay Clubs states

"Cay Clubs Resorts have a loyal investor following and are renowned for their country club style projects set in glorious surroundings with perfect all-year-round weather and incorporating elegant architecture. The Resorts appeal to those seeking an indulgent and active lifestyle and offer an array of amenities including (depending on location) use of private charter jets, deep sea fishing boats, scuba diving boats and a full service marina, round-the-clock fitness centres, business centres as well as golf courses, water parks, health spas, playgrounds and clubs for children.

Each resort is designed as ideal short term holiday rental units. Each has its own on-site Resort Management Office providing a hassle-free investment opportunity for the owner. Previously marketed only in its domestic market, the developer has chosen the UK as its first target market outside the USA."

"Cay Clubs is a company which owns and operates the finest Resorts and Marinas throughout Florida and the Caribbean. "We are honored to sponsor an event which is dedicated to the preservation of our environment, and brings excitement, synergy, and commerce to the community" - Dave Clark - CEO Cay Clubs International." 

Elsewhere in the Cay Club website literature they write

"The Cay Club concept is in the business of creating value through the implementation of world class waterfront amenities. The development team of Cristal Clear Companies, Sunvest Resort Communities and JDI has in excess of 50,000 units' development experience.
Cay Clubs come with an opportunity for block buying groups to acquire units at a preferred pricing position prior to it being offered to the general public.
We would encourage you to put not only our developments, but also our track record, to the test as we believe the Cay Clubs development strategy has no equal."

Cay Clubs International
Specializing in Florida Waterfront Resort Communities & Floating Town Homes.
2704 Via Murano
Clearwater, FL 33764
United States

Phone: 727-224-8975
Fax: 727-535-9254

So far Cay Clubs has purchased

1. Bayside Cay Club where Bayside Resort and Sushi Nami are located in Key Largo. Bayside Resort (54 guest rooms) at 99470 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.

2. Lighthouse Cay Club - formerly Sombrero Resort & Lighthouse Marina in Marathon

3. Marathon Cay Club - also known as the Marathon Marina and Boatyard, 1021 11th Street Ocean, Marathon Key

4. Tavernier Cay Club. - MM 90.7 now occupied by restaurant Tropical Café, Tropic Vista Motel and other businesses. Cay Club hopes to gain County approval to build 50 dockominiums. The general location and address of the Tavernier Cay Club is Tropic Vista Dive Resort, 90701 Old Highway,

5. Key Largo Cay Club - Pilot House marina and restaurant at 13 Seagate Blvd. MM 99.5 Key Largo

6. Islamorada Cay Club. formerly the Golden Key and Shoreline Motels, Cay Clubs of Clearwater, Fla., intends to build 25 two- and three-story townhomes, plus retail space, a clubhouse, restaurant, boat storage and 55 boat slips. The company is currently accepting $35,000 “VIP” reservation deposits.

7. Sarasota Cay Club (178 rooms former Holiday Inn) - 7050 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota Florida - Two-story Motor Inn & Marina ( 78 deep-water, transient and permanent slips as well as powerboat, personal watercraft and kayak rentals, fishing, sailing and SCUBA charters and guided eco tours) located on Sarasota Bay

8. Clearwater Cay Club has 336 - 1, 2, and 3 bedroom residences

9. Walker's Cay - Cay Clubs recently contracted for the purchase of 69 acre Walker's Cay, the northernmost island of the Abacos of the Bahamas. Current plans call for adding additional hotel rooms to the 62 room Walker's Cay Hotel , Cay Clubs also wants to build condominiums, cottages and townhomes on the island. Walker's Cay Marina currently 75 boat slips, and a private airstrip.

10. negotiating for the former Marathon Manor nursing home for workforce housing

11. Las Vegas Cay Club - 4200 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89103
Plans first call for building 360 condominiums available for vacation rentals. Phase II proposes building an additional 2,700 condominiums in Las Vegas


As mentioned earlier, Cay Clubs was formed by David Clark and David Schwarz. Before forming the Cay Club Companies, Dave Clark was CEO and founder of the EarthMark Companies. Working with Schwarz, then CFO, EarthMark over a 20 year period, developed dozens of projects with thousands of single and multifamily units.

EarthMark is associated with development of

1. Mariner's Club Key Largo Resort and Marina - gated, oceanfront resort community living for sale or vacation in luxurious two and three bedroom town homes and condominiums surrounding a beautiful marina with direct access to the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Key Largo Harbor Marina
Full service boatyard and marina located on the Port Largo canal, 400 Ocean Drive, Mile Marker 100 Oceanside.

3. Knights Key in Marathon will be known as Maranu. (Mar – ah – new)
Located oceanside just prior to the Seven Mile Bridge at Knights Key.

EarthMark literature states the Maranu Luxe Bungalow Resort and Spa,

". . . will rank among the most elegant and exclusive residential resort and spa destinations throughout the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Plans for the property ensure that guests will enjoy the essence of a laid-back luxury lifestyle focused on the surrounding azure waters and the resort’s own classic Caribbean architecture, deluxe residential resort accommodations, world-class amenities, landscaped pools with upland and oceanfront beaches, rejuvenating spa services, water sports including fishing and diving and retail shops."