Financings Continue Apace Ahead of New Year

Lenders are putting hoteliers in a holiday mood as financing is flowing for any number of projects.

On the West Coast, Beverly Hills, CA-based Sonnenblick-Eichner Co. has arranged $35 million of first-mortgage financing for the iconic 76-room luxury boutique Inn at the Market in Seattle, WA.

The hotel, currently ranked number one of 100 hotels in Seattle on TripAdvisor, is located at Pike Place Market, the city’s popular downtown destination.

The financing, provided by a Wall Street investment bank, was a non-recourse, 10-year, fixed-rate loan with five years of interest-only payments.

The Inn’s amenities include four restaurants, four high-end retail outlets and a rooftop deck with views of Elliott Bay, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

Elliot Eichner, principal of Sonnenblick-Eichner Co., commented, “The loan recapitalized our client’s recent all-cash purchase of a controlling interest in the ownership entity. Given the location of the property adjacent to Pike Place Market, that Seattle is the fastest growing major city in the U.S., and a recent capital investment of approximately $126,000 per key, we were able to obtain 20 competitive financing quotes.”

Patrick Brown, also a company principal, noted, “The financing of approximately $460,000 per key is one of the highest in Seattle to date.”

Chi-Town Deal

In the Midwest, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP (HFF) arranged a $64 million refinancing for the 334-room Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in downtown Chicago.

The HFF team worked on behalf of the borrower, a partnership comprising Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Co. (ARTIC), Magellan Development Group and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, to place the 10-year, fixed-rate loan with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. HFF will service the securitized loan, proceeds of which were used to refinance the prior first mortgage.

Completed in 2011, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago occupies floors four through 18 of the Aqua Tower, an 82-story mixed-use building within the Lake Shore East Development along Lake Michigan, and is the first U.S. location for the Radisson Blu brand.

The hotel, at 221 North Columbus, features 28,500 sq. ft. of meeting space; a fitness center; dedicated yoga space; a junior Olympic-size swimming pool; indoor, two-lane lap pool; and Filini’s restaurant.

The HFF debt placement team representing the borrower included Managing Director Danny Kaufman, Senior Director Jeff Bucaro and Associate Nicole Aguiar.

Tarek M. El Sayed, managing director and CEO of ARTIC, said, “This arrangement reflects ARTIC’s commitment to financial efficiency and to finding the optimum financing solutions, so enabling ARTIC to increase the operational efficiency of our portfolio and continue to deliver our expansion strategy.”

ARTIC is an investment company engaged in real-estate development, acquisition and leasing with a primary focus on the hospitality sector and hospitality-related services both in Qatar and internationally.

East Coast Enhancements

This winter season in South Walton, FL, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa begins $5 million capital improvement project to enhance the guest experience at the property. The multi-phase project will run from guestroom improvements to outdoor dining and amenities.

Getting underway, the resort this month began a three-year project of upgrading bathrooms in the Emerald Tower, and will be converting all Parlor Family Suites to king bedrooms and adding connecting doors, making it possible to adjoin up to three guestrooms for families.