Welcome to Investment Perspectives
This is the first in a series of weekly blogs on lodging industry finance and investment in the lodging sector for HOTELS magazine and hotelsmag.com. I will be sharing this platform on a rotating basis with a few colleagues, each of whom brings a different perspective on this subject, some overlapping – some distinct:
- Rob Stiles, executive vice president and principal, Cushman & Wakefield Sonnenblick Goldman, a global leader in real estate finance services. Rob will provide an intermediary’s perspective on the structuring and placing of debt and equity capital on behalf of hotel owners and developers.
- Rick Ross, chairman, Global Hospitality Practice, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, a major international law firm across six continents, will provide a lawyer’s perspective – though not just legal commentary.
- Bernie Siegel, principal with KSL Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, will offer his insights as an investor in hotels and resorts.
- Barry Olson, managing director of Archon Capital, L.P., a Goldman Sachs affiliate, will approach his commentary through the lens of his role as one of the world’s largest owners and lenders of hotel real estate.
I will offer the wide-angle view from varying perspectives, as a partner in Warnick + Company, an advisory firm that is involved in many aspects of the lodging industry, including asset management, development, capital transactions, and turn arounds, to name a few.
This forum is intended to be provocative. Also, the opinions are those of the individual contributor…so don’t expect us to necessarily be in agreement with one another. As with any blog, we invite your participation.
To kick things off, this opening commentary comes on the heels of the NYU Conference where many conversations and presentations confirmed what I have been observing over the past several months – namely, an overly enthusiastic hotel investment climate. Considering the dramatic change in investor attitudes from the dour mood earlier this year, one has to ask, what is fueling this turn around?
Is it the economy, which is still quite volatile and, even optimistically, will take years to recover – especially on the critical jobs front?
Is it a few months of unexpectedly good RevPAR performance – but compared to what…2009?
No, this exuberance is driven purely and simply by an excess of cheap, mostly publically raised capital that has to be spent, combined with a scarcity of investment grade hotel product available for acquisition. So it is money – not industry fundamentals – that is driving values in this post-Great Recession era.
Unlike the RTC days of the early 1990s, the bottom of this market appears to have come and gone without notice or fanfare – at least as far as investment is concerned. And after all the weeping and gnashing of teeth, it seems it is the buyers, not the sellers, who have finally capitulated.