MCR refinances 30 hotels: MCR, New York City, has closed on a US$420 million refinancing of a 30-hotel portfolio. Wells Fargo provided the financing (and also served as lead left arranger of the transaction) along with BMO Harris (joint lead arranger), Bank of America and Square Mile Capital at an interest rate of SOFR +3.73%. Spanning 17 states, the 30 hotels total 3,792 rooms and is mostly concentrated in Florida, Utah, Colorado, South Carolina, Nevada and Texas. The portfolio’s product type is varied and comprises Marriott- and Hilton-affiliated select-service and extended-stay hotels across eight flags. All 30 hotels are managed by MCR’s in-house operations team. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson served as the legal advisor to MCR, while Eastdil Secured served as the financial advisor.
Splendid Hospitality acquires London Holiday Inn: Splendid Hospitality Group, Watford, England, has acquired off-market the 134-key Holiday Inn London Brentford Lock from London-based Brightbay Real Estate Partners. The acquisition, which will include renovations, marks Splendid welcoming the hotel back into its portfolio after having built it around 17 years ago. Splendid’s portfolio currently comprises 24 hotels with more than 2,500 rooms and 40 fast food restaurants. Th acquisition will help Brightbay, which was created after the acquisition of RDI REIT P.L.C. by controlled affiliates of Starwood Capital Group, to focus on the limited-service sector in Edinburgh and London.
Lendlease, Mitsubishi form jv for Sydney project: Lendlease, Sydney, Australia, and Singapore-based Mitsubishi Estate Asia have formed a joint venture to acquire the One Circular Quay project in Sydney for AU$800 million (US$543.43 million). Constructed by Lendlease, the proposed towers will be developed by Lendlease and Mitsubishi Estate and is estimated to have an end value of AU$3 billion (US$2.03 billon). With views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, the project will feature a 59-story residential tower, designed by late Australian architect Kerry Hill, and a second tower designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, which will be developed as a 220-key Waldorf Astoria hotel. This will mark the debut of Hilton’s luxury brand into Australia. One Circular Quay is expected to be completed by FY27 and is located at the site of the former Gold Fields House. Mitsubishi holds a 19.9% interest in the JV, which will rise to 66.7% while Lendlease’s ownership will come down to 33.3%. Previously, Lendlease and Mitsubishi have partnered on the One Sydney Harbour and Sydney Place projects and the Melbourne Quarter’s residential East Tower.
VICI Properties loans Great Wolf: VICI Properties, New York, will provide a mezzanine loan investment for up to US$59 million to Great Wolf Resorts, Chicago, Illinois, for the development of the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida, an over US$250 million resort in Collier County, Florida. The 500-key indoor water park was announced on July 14 during the groundbreaking event and will open in summer 2024. The loan has an initial term of four years with a 12-month extension option and will be funded with cash on hand in accordance with a construction draw schedule. This is VICI’s second mezzanine loan with Great Wolf as part of the company’s strategic arrangement to provide up to US$300 million of mezzanine financing to support the financing of the development of Great Wolf’s domestic and global water park resort pipeline.
Growth of vacation rental sector: The success of the short-term vacation rental sector coupled with the pandemic-induced financial losses resulted in many owners entering the industry to find new ways to earn passive income, which pushed the market in 2020 to see a 13% growth in supply (available listings) YOY compared to 2019, revealed the Vacation Rental Industry Trends: Summer 2022 report by Evolve. The U.S. vacation rental sector saw a record-breaking 33% growth in demand from 2019 to 2021. Guest demand skyrocketed in 2021 as travel opened up. The supply growth is maintaining a consistent pace in 2022 but demand growth has started slipping, with supply growth in May up 12% (compared to 10% in January) while demand growth has grown by only 9% (compared to 32% in January). The slow growth in demand and supply indicates the impact of the economic environment (rising gas prices and airplane fares and inflation) on summer travel.
EHL unveils new campus: EHL Group has inaugurated a new campus of EHL Hospitality Business & Hotel Management School in Lausanne, Switzerland, after five years of construction and investment of 250 million Swiss Franc (US$256.01 million). The campus includes sustainable and eco-certified revamped buildings, 80,000 square meters of grounds (expanded from 25,000 square meters), around 1,000 beds for students’ on-site accommodation and 12 food outlets (some of which are open to the public), including a new high-end brasserie and a vegan restaurant. The campus also features sports facilities such as a 25-meter swimming pool, a wellness area with a sauna and a cold bath, a multipurpose sports hall, petanque, volleyball and tennis courts and 2 kilometers of running track around the school. The school now includes a 2,500 square meters of educational garden, enabling students to learn seasonality and the significance of supporting local and regional produce from short food supply chains. Over 100 proposals from nine schools of architecture and landscape design globally were received after the call for proposals in 2013, of which 20 students and their professors were selected and invited to meet EHL students and learn about their expectations for the new campus.