Thursday, December 10, 2009

Utopia: The New PEU Frontier

Frontier Group, a St. Louis based private equity underwriter (PEU), plans to build a $1.1 billion luxury ship. STLToday reported:

The ship, which will be named Utopia, will have 200 private residences, a 204-room hotel, casino, spa, theater, night club, swimming pools and restaurants.

It plans to opulently cruise the oceans, stopping at the world's biggest parties.

The ship will cruise the world visiting events like the America's Cup, the Cannes Film Festival, the Dubai World Cup, the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebration, Wimbledon, the Running of the Bulls, the Tour de France, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the Olympics, Rio's Carnaval, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, and Melbourne Cup.
Owners can do so in style.

Frontier has set up sales offices on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Robb said the company had commitments for about a sixth of the residences on the ship before the formal sales efforts began. The commitments include a 40,000 square-foot residence that will cost $160 million, according to Robb. He said most residences will range from $3.8 million to $26 million.

One luxury residence owner is Frank Carlucci, Chairman Emeritus at The Carlyle Group and co-founder of Frontier Group.

Building an opulent party ship for the super wealthy, this is PEU money at work. Will it make ports of call in offshore tax havens?

Will any of Frank's former Carlyle associates buy a residence on Utopia? David Rubenstein travels frequently. He might not buy, unless the ship has satellite communications and a helipad.

A PEU Utopia is coming. Is it the Ford Edsel, the canary in an economic coal mine? Their choice of the Tiger Woods Foundation as a philanthropy partner is truly unfortunate timing. He might make a better philanderer partner.