Briefs: Related, Wynn pursue NYC casino; New Castle acquires in Texas

Related and Wynn want NYC casino: New York City-based real estate developer Related Companies and Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts are reportedly teaming up to pursue a casino license for a 28-acre parcel at Manhattan’s western rail yard at Hudson Yards. The US$25 billion development plan for residential and office towers and a new park between Eleventh Avenue and the Hudson River in the West 30s was stalled by the pandemic. The casino would be situated close to the recently expanded Jacob Javits Convention Center. SL Green, Vornado Realty Trust and Thor Equities are among other developers reportedly interested in building a casino at various sites in New York City.

Enchantment Group announces new CEO: Enchantment Group has promoted Alex Kim to CEO. Kim has previously been the president of Enchantment Group for over two years and has also held leadership roles at many properties, like Ojai Valley Inn, Meadowood Napa Valley and the One and Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas. As the CEO of Enchantment Group for the last five years, co-owner Tracy Tang will become the new title of chair of Enchantment Group Board of Directors.

LaSalle Hotel in Bryan, Texas was acquired by New Castle Hotels & Resorts

New Castle partners acquire in Texas: New Castle Hotels & Resorts partners Julian Buffam and Jeremy Buffam have acquired the 55-key LaSalle Hotel in Bryan, Texas. The property will join the Marriott Tribute Portfolio after extensive renovations. Municipal incentives from the City of Bryan and historic tax credits will support estimated capital improvements worth US$110,000 per key. Built in 1928, LaSalle will operate as an independent hotel through fall 2023.

Equinox hotel for Detroit?: Related Companies Stephen Ross and the Detroit-based Ilitch organization have submitted plans to develop a US$190 million hotel located next to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The 14-story, 290-room hotel, which will also include up to 30,000 square feet of street-level retail, food and beverage space could start construction in 2024 and take three years to complete. With Ross also owning the Equinox gym brand, it has been suggested the hotel could be branded the same. Currently, there is one other Equinox hotel in New York City.

Pebblebrook completes sale of Portland hotel: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has closed the sale of the 117-room Hotel Vintage Portland in Portland, Oregon, for US$32.9 million to a third party. Proceeds from the sale of the hotel will be utilized for general corporate purposes, which might include reducing the company’s outstanding debt borrowings associated with recent hotel acquisitions. For the trailing 12 months ended June 30, the hotel’s net operating loss was US$0.1 million and its EBITDA was US$0.1 million. Based on the hotel’s operating performance for 2019, the US$32.9 million sales price reflects an 11.7x EBITDA multiple and a 7.1% net operating income capitalization rate. The net operating income (loss) for both periods is after an assumed annual capital reserve of 4% of total hotel revenues.

Expedia launches new social impact and sustainability strategy: Expedia Group has announced its new global social impact and sustainability strategy. As an extension of the previously announced Open World technology platform, the Open World social impact and sustainability strategy focuses on three priorities — increasing access to underserved travelers, democratizing the travel economy and innovating sustainable solutions for the future of travel. The strategy will tackle inequities in travel, speed up change for travelers and communities which power the industry globally and ensure a healthy planet. Expedia Group, which recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, is currently developing a long-term climate action plan and roadmap for greening its own operations. In partnership with The Travel Foundation, the group is developing a new program that will offer training and guidance to destination marketing organizations.

Taiwan considers ending quarantine in October: Taiwan is considering ending its mandatory quarantine for all arrivals earlier than planned and is likely to be implemented in October. As per local reports, a panel of experts has said given the low positivity rate of overseas arrivals (3.69%), the center should prepare to end quarantine under the “0+7” scheme within a month. The plan calls for eliminating quarantine for incoming passengers and only requiring them to observe seven days of self-health monitoring. Earlier this week, Taiwan resumed visa-free entry for visitors from countries, including the U.S. and Canada, while still mandating the need for a PCR test upon arrival and a cap of 50,000 arrivals per week. Taiwan has maintained its entry and quarantine requirements even as many Asian countries began relaxing or lifting them completely. In June, however, it reduced the number of days spent in isolation for arrivals from seven to three days.