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Darden real-estate spin-off to lease to other restaurant companies

In a draft letter to shareholders, filed with the SEC, the company said 424 former Darden properties in 44 states will be spun off into the trust company, which will be publicly traded. Five brands will be included.

At first, Four Corners expects its only tenant will be Darden. But that will change, according to the company’s registration of securities statement:

“We expect to diversify our tenant base and expand into different geographic markets in the future by acquiring additional properties and leasing them, on a triple-net basis, to other local, regional and national restaurant operators. Over time, we may further diversify our portfolio to include properties outside the restaurant industry."

All but six of the Four Corners properties will be leased to Darden or its subsidiary restaurant companies. The leases will be for 15 years, on a “triple-net” basis, which means that the restaurant tenants will still pay for taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Not all of Darden’s properties would be part of the Four Corners deal. For example, the largest Olive Garden restaurant, on International Drive in Orlando, is still being marketed for sale separately with list price of $12.2 million. Read more about that property in a previous Orlando Sentinel story.

Another property marketed separately is a LongHorn Steakhouse at 8398 Vineland Ave. in Orlando, for $6.8 million.

The proposed Four Corners spinoff is set to happen on Jan. 1, but it is not a done deal yet. The IRS and other federal agencies still need to review it, and a final vote would still occur by Darden’s board of directors.

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