William C. Guthrie

Partner

Overview

William (Bill) C. Guthrie is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where his practice focuses on the condominium, resort and hospitality industries. Mr. Guthrie’s extensive experience includes structuring and development of planned unit developments, condominiums, vacation ownership projects, fractional projects, and clubs for many major brand participants in the industry. He has also been actively involved in the creation of multiple mixed-use development projects relating to a variety of components, including retail, hotel, office condominium, residential condominium, timeshare, fractional, membership club, golf and other amenities. Mr. Guthrie advises and works closely with globally recognized developers, lenders, managers and exchange services groups. He is a member of the Real Estate and Consumer Financial Services Practices and chair of the Hospitality & Leisure Industry Team.

Affiliations

Mr. Guthrie is a former registered lobbyist on behalf of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) – Florida, Florida’s trade organization for the timeshare, resort and leisure industry. In this capacity, Mr. Guthrie has been actively involved in the drafting and implementation of statutory amendments and administrative rules and regulations affecting the timeshare industry across the country. He was also involved in the negotiation of the 1995 Puerto Rico Timeshare and Vacation Club Act and is currently actively involved in drafting a new USVI Timeshare Act. Mr. Guthrie currently serves on the board of directors for ARDA.

Recognition

Mr. Guthrie has been Peer Review Rated as BV® Distinguished™, a mark of excellence in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. In 2010, the Legal 500 recognized Mr. Guthrie for his real estate work and he has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2013. He was appointed at Governor Bush’s request to the Florida Homeowner’s Association Task Force in 2003 and was appointed by Governor Scott to serve on the Community Association Living Study Council in 2013, which he was elected as chairperson.

Admissions, Certifications, and Professional Memberships

As a member of the ARDA, Mr. Guthrie has served as an editor of the ABA/ARDA Editorial Board to create a digest and analysis of U.S. timeshare law. He was previously chair of the ARDA State Legislative Committee’s Personal Property Accommodation Task Force and Points Task Force. He has also served on the Travel Club Task Force and is currently serving on the ARDA Strategic Planning Task Force.  

Admitted to practice before The Florida Bar, Mr. Guthrie is a member of the American and Florida Bar Associations. He is board certified in Condominium and Planned Land Development Law and previously chaired the Time Sharing and Interval Uses Committee, ABA Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law.

Education

Mr. Guthrie is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S., 1990; M.B.A., 1994; J.D., 1994).

Publications and Presentations

Mr. Guthrie is a frequent lecturer at hospitality conferences, his recent publications and presentations include:

  • Panelist, “Ask the Attorneys: Legal Hot Topics,” ARDA World 2014, April 8, 2014 
  • Co-author of a chapter, “Understanding Leisure and Hospitality Transactions: What Clients and Attorneys Need to Know,” Inside the Minds: Navigating the Complexities of Leisure and Hospitality Law, 2014 ed.
  • Panelist, “Making Timeshare a Meaningful Component of Mixed Use Hotel Projects: Opportunities and Issues,” Georgetown Hospitality Law Conference, October 25, 2013
  • Co-author, “Trust Us. You’ll Like It – and So Will Your Owners. Why the trust structure is something you should consider,” Developments, June 2013 
  • Co-author, "The fee for service model: A beacon of hope," Florida Real Estate Journal, May 2011 
  • Co-author of a chapter, "Specific Types of Condominiums," Florida Condominium Law and Practice (Third Edition) published by The Florida Bar 
  • “Vacation Home Market Trends: Opportunities for the Golf Industry,” Golf Course Industry, September 28, 2009

Representative Matters

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Created a new product structure that enabled Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation to continue to receive favorable tax and accounting treatment, yet afforded Marriott a competitive advantage over its competition in the luxury fractional and private residence club industry that had not been previously attained in any segment of the industry. This new structure allowed a trust to own multiple properties, permitted purchasers to own a real estate interest while not being tied to ownership of a particular property, and created a homogenous point system allowing owners a broader range of vacation experiences. The trust incorporates an exchange program that allows purchasers to access a multitude of hospitality services that are only available through the exchange program. The exchange program also allows owners in other fractional regimes to affiliate and exchange among the various resorts/trusts affiliated with the exchange program. Issues ranged from ensuring tax and accounting requirements were met while creating a malleable real estate interest to multijurisdictional navigation of registration, trust, ownership rights, usury, and conflict of laws issues.
Represented Sky Management, a manager of multiple condominium hotel projects who owns or controls related commercial spaces. Due to the economic downturn and difficulty in obtaining financing, the client is managing partially completed projects with many unsold units. The only current viable exit strategy is timeshare or similar product. Florida law prohibits creation of timeshare in many of the projects without a unanimous vote of all owners and mortgagees. Foley created a vacation club product that will enable the client to sell memberships as an exit strategy, without violating any documentary or legal restrictions. This product is a novel exit strategy that is being combined with a regulated timeshare product.
Represented client in documentation for a large mixed-use project with residential, fractional, and retail. Negotiated a sales, marketing, and management arrangement for developer with Wyndham Vacation Ownership to add the fractional interests to the Wyndham program.