Briefs: Henderson Park buys California resort; first Radisson Blu in Barcelona

Henderson Park buys big California resort: London-based private equity firm Henderson Park continues to play an active role in the M&A market as it has reportedly acquired from Blackstone for US$255 million the La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West golf club near Palm Springs, California. The news comes after Henderson Park in December 2021 acquired the business and management platform of Amaris Hospitality from LRC Group, London, and simultaneously launched a new hotel and asset management platform with 30 hotels called Klarent Hospitality. In November, Henderson Park also acquired a 2,424-key portfolio of 12 Hilton-branded hotels across the U.K. and Ireland.

Engel & Völkers acquires 7Pines Ibiza: As part of a newly launched €500 million (US$573 million) investment fund, Hamburg-based Engel & Völkers Asset Management has acquired from Düsseldorf, Germany-based investment manager 12.18. Group for €130 million (US$148.86 million) or €703,000 (US$804,999) per key the 185-suite 7Pines Resort Ibiza in Spain. The luxury resort, which opened in 2018, is part of the Destination by Hyatt collection. The EV Leisure Hotel Fund I has also acquired two more properties from 12.18. Group — 7Pines Resort Sardinia in Italy and Schloss Roxburghe in Scotland. All three deals are valued at a total of €280 million (US$320.62 million), making them one of the 10 biggest sales processes in the European market in the last two years.

New fund targets Europes: Global investment firm Eurazeo and Canadian pension fund PSP Investments have agreed to create a partnership to invest up to €300 million (US$342.52 million) of equity in hotel assets or portfolios across Europe that are well-positioned to benefit from an expected rebound. Eurazeo and PSP Investments will invest equal amounts in the joint venture and have already agreed to acquire FST Hotels, a Spanish hotel group that owns and operates an 800-room portfolio across five hotels, primarily located in Madrid and Barcelona. The hotel group, operating under the Ayre brand, will be acquired from Grupo Empresas Matutes and El Corte Inglés. The hotels will undergo refurbishment, repositioning and rebranding.

Radisson Blu Barcelona Sagrada Familia

First Radisson Blu in Barcelona: Union Investment’s Unilmmo: Europa fund has acquired the 182-key Hotel Barcelona 1882 in Barcelona from global private markets firm Partners Group. The price was not disclosed. The hotel opened under the Barcelona 1882 brand in November 2018 and will be transformed and reopen as a Radisson Blu property later this year. The property, with a 25-year lease, will mark Radisson Hotel Group’s 10th hotel with Union Investment in Europe. This is Union Investment’s second property in Barcelona and also in the Unilmmo: Europa portfolio.

Kerten Hospitality debuts in Europe: Kerten Hospitality Group, Dublin, will open its first project in Europe in 2023 with an agreement with the Santucci family, the third generation and historical owner of the property in Rome. As part of the agreement, the five-story building with over 1,600 square meters of floor space will undergo a complete renovation for a total investment of above €4 million (US$4.58 million). The building, which has earlier housed the Banco di Roma and the Cameroon Embassy, will be transformed into a boutique hotel with sustainable and lifestyle features. Kerten Hospitality currently has 35 projects, most of which are expected to open by 2023 and are concentrated mainly in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Georgia.

MCR expands in Texas: New York City-based owner-operator MCR has reportedly acquired from Sugar Land, Texas-based Trend Hospitality the 168-room Aloft Houston Downtown – its 38th hotel in Texas. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Houston’s overall hotel occupancy was 46.6% in January, down from 58.8% from January 2019.

Capit.el Group acquires ibis in Melbourne: Sydney-based Capit.el Group, led by Eduard Litver, has acquired the 3-star, 146-key ibis Budget Melbourne CBD for A$25 million (US$17.68 million) from the Singapore-based Well Smart Investment Holdings. The hotel was refurbished in 2021 and was offered as a freehold strata above four retail shops. The hotel is Capit.el’s first direct purchase of an asset in Melbourne. CBRE Hotels agents Wayne Bunz and Scott Callow negotiated the deal, which marked year’s first accommodation sale in Australia. Well Smart tried to sell the hotel in 2019 for more than A$30 million (US$21.21 million), before decreasing the asking price.

Caring backs away from Corbin & King: Among a reported 30 to 40 potential suitors, high-profile, London-based hospitality investor Richard Caring is reportedly no longer pursuing local restaurant group Corbin & King. C&K was recently placed into administration by its majority shareholder, Minor International, Bangkok, as part of an ongoing dispute with the group founders and minority shareholders.

Bat & Ball Hotel sells for A$10 million: Universal Hotel Group, led by the Kospetas family, has acquired the 15-room Bat & Ball Hotel in Sydney in an off-market inner city hotel deal for AU$10 million (US$7.07 million) from Chinese group Cator Investment. The two-story hotel, which is bedecked with cricket memorabilia and popular with sports enthusiasts, also has a 2 a.m. liquor license and 10 gaming machines. The deal was brokered by Blake Edwards and Sam Handy of HTL Property. Cator bought the property and business in 2014 for AU$4.5 million (US$3.18 million).

Interstate launches maintenance apprenticeship program: Interstate Hotels & Resorts has launched a maintenance apprenticeship program to guide future leaders in the hospitality industry. Interstate has partnered with Hospitality Industry Training and Cambrian Training to create the program, which recently welcomed its first batch of apprentices. A total of 13 apprentices will be given an on-the-job training for 12-14 months and the opportunity to attend several interactive online workshops. They will also get to go for supplier visits and attend masterclasses. This new program follows the recent launch of Interstate’s chef academy.

Cove Communities acquires Argyll Holidays: U.S.-based Cove Communities has acquired Argyll Holidays, which owns eight holiday parks across Scotland. The Campbell family, which owns Argyll Holidays, has reportedly sold the business for over £100 million (US$135.26 million). All 250 Argyll Holidays employees are expected to transfer to Cove Communities, which also owns holiday parks in West Sussex, Essex and Cornwall, as well as in the U.S. and Canada. Argyll Holidays was established in 1967 with Drimsynie Estate, its flagship park.

USTA reacts to revised BLS data: The January employment report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has painted a darker picture for losses incurred by the travel industry, the U.S. Travel Association said, adding that additional aid is needed for the sector. The BLS data confirmed that 10% of leisure and hospitality jobs remain lost, accounting for 61% of the job losses due to the pandemic. In a statement, USTA Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said: “The uneven recovery of the travel sector is due in large part to the lack of inbound international travelers, and the deep reduction in business travel and professional meetings and events. There could not be a more pressing time for Congress to implement short-term priorities to stimulate this vital contributor to the U.S. economy and rebuild American jobs.” USTA sain measures that can aid the industry include a higher cap on H-2B visas; emergency support for Brand USA by passing the Restoring Brand USA Act; targeted, temporary tax credits and deductions to stimulate spending on business travel; live entertainment and in-person events; and more funding for relief grants to severely affected businesses.

Latin America’s construction pipeline drops 11% in projects: Latin America’s hotel construction pipeline closed Q4 2021 with a 11% decline in projects and 7% decrease in rooms YOY (563 projects/101,523 rooms).  At the end of the year, projects under construction stood at 281 projects/58,813 rooms, while projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stood at 147 projects/20,732 rooms. New projects announced during 2021 rose 4% by projects, but dipped 1% by rooms YOY with 139 projects/27,811 rooms compared to the 150 projects/20,522 rooms announced in 2020. The top five countries for hotel construction are Mexico with 207 projects/38,671 rooms. Brazil, which historically has had the largest construction pipeline in the region, saw record low project and room totals with 97 projects/15,901 rooms, followed by Peru (32 projects/3,903 rooms), the Dominican Republic (21 projects/4,874 rooms), and Columbia (19 projects/2,913 rooms). Collectively, these five countries represent 67% of projects and 65% of rooms in the region’s total pipeline. Hotel franchise companies with the largest construction pipelines were Marriott International (103 projects/16,200 rooms), Hilton Worldwide (102 projects/15,716 rooms), Accor (81 projects/10,281 rooms), InterContinental Hotels Group (58 projects/6,686 rooms) and Hyatt Hotels (33 projects/8,192 rooms). These five companies account for 67% of the projects in the total construction pipeline.

Stonehill PACE clean energy originations surpass US$300M: Stonehill PACE announced it has completed around US$150 million in commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) loans over the past 12 months for renewable energy and energy-efficient components and seismic retrofitting in the hospitality, senior living, multifamily, industrial and mixed-use real estate sectors. The company doubled its commercial property assessed clean energy originations and grew to more than US$300 million. Out of the 18 transactions completed over the past year, eight were multifamily and senior living, seven were hotels and one was in industrial and mixed-use sectors. Stonehill PACE also completed a condominium developments through C-PACE with a US$10.6 million loan for a high-rise development in Washington, D.C. Other transactions include a US$13.8 million loan for Mesa at Laguna Ridge apartments in Elk Grove, California. Stonehill PACE achieved a 95% combined loan-to-value with C-PACE financing and provided US$17.8 million in C-PACE retroactive funding for the Element San Jose Milpitas.

Third wave likely to be less disruptive for India: Although the third wave of COVID-19 is likely to affect the operating metrics of the Indian hotel industry in the last quarter of this financial year, the impact will be less in the April-June period of FY23 as restrictions continue to ease, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has said. The overall revenue of all hotel categories will see a five to 10% decline YOY in Q1 2022-23, while revenue will drop 25% to 30% from its base scenario in Q4 of FY22, the agency said. Occupancy rates across all hotel categories is projected to decrease but it is likely to bounce back as seen during the first two waves. The overall impact is expected to be benign in Q1 FY23 due to the cost-cutting by the sector when cases begin to rise.