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Meet the Money® 2014

ADA defense and compliance

EB-5 financing

Workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships

Hotel Management Agreements

Hotel Franchise & License Agreements

Hotel industry trends

This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer. Please contact me at Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or 310.201.3526.

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
25 August 2014

Lately, it seems like everyone wants to buy — or sell — an independent hotel management company. And this may be one of the best times to do so in a long while. Here are some thoughts on this timely subject by two of our hotel lawyers who have just completed a successful sale of an independent operator.

Why this may be the time to buy or sell a hotel management company
A hot trend and five key issues
by

Guy Maisnik and Joyce Men | Hotel Lawyers

One of the hottest trends right now is buying (or selling) independent hotel management companies. The demand is coming from all directions – existing management companies, investment funds and foreign buyers. Existing management companies are scrambling for market share, economies of scale and strategic markets. Investment funds are looking for the direct control over their hotel investments through a captive management company as well as attractive economic returns that a great independent operator can achieve with limited capital investment and risk compared to hotel investment. And foreign owners share many of these goals, and see the acquisition of a hotel management company as a solid way of entering into the hotel market in the United States.

From the potential seller’s standpoint, the timing may be optimal for a sale at this point in the cycle. A management company’ sale price is typically negotiated as a multiple of earnings. Traditionally, this multiple is four to six times earnings before interest and taxes, after making adjustments for expenses that would not continue to the buyer, and deducting from the price any interest-bearing debt that the buyer assumes. However, in this market, hotel management companies with a proven track record of performance, and a high quality (sustainable) earnings stream  can command a price well in excess of six times earnings before interest and taxes with multiple suitors. The demand is there, but the process is complex.

And here are five key issues or questions you should consider before buying or selling a hotel management company. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
19 August 2014

Asians love California, particularly Southern California! They love it as a place to live, buy homes, invest, go to school, and run their businesses. In June, we talked about the close affinity between China and Los Angeles County as revealed by a new report. Now there is yet another report documenting how Asians love Orange County.

Why? The report does not tell us that, but certainly Asians are attracted to California for the same reasons they been settling here for more than a century: proximity, climate, opportunity, and the largest communities of Asians outside of Asia.

News about Asians in Orange County

Recently, Los Angeles Times reporters Anh Do and Christopher Goffard reported on a phenomenon which we at JMBM are well aware: Asians want to live, work, study and invest in Orange County, California.

JMBM has served Orange County’s Asian community for more than 30 years. From our office in Irvine, members of JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group™ and Global Hospitality Group® are active participants in Orange County’s Asian business community where we represent Asian investors, developers, business owners, as well as new residents – primarily from China – seeking to invest in California businesses and buy luxury homes in Orange County’s prestigious neighborhoods.

New Study on Asians in Orange County

The Times article cites “A Community of Contrasts”, a study published by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and reports the following key findings: CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
18 August 2014

Today, the Hotel Lawyers in JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group announced our 25th Annual Meet the Money® conference to be held May 4-6, 2015, at the Sheraton LAX. It’s hard to believe we are marking the 25th year of getting together with our friends in the industry for a couple of days where all participants share information, meet leaders in the industry and make deals. It will be an exciting conference and if you have not joined us at Meet the Money® in the past, we hope you will come find out what all the buzz is about in 2015! If you are a regular participant, I promise that 2015 will not disappoint!

 

JMBM’s Meet the Money® marks its 25th anniversary in 2015
National Hotel Finance & Investment Conference – May 4-6, 2015 in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Meet the Money®, the premier national hotel finance and investment conference will convene for its 25th annual event on May 4-6, 2015 in Los Angeles. Since 1990, the conference has connected attendees with the industry’s top executives and leaders.

“When we established Meet the Money® 25 years ago, our purpose was to provide hotel developers and owners with a forum to meet capital providers and to gain insight on debt and equity financing,” said Jim Butler, Chairman of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. “This milestone signifies our continued commitment to that vision.”

Each year, Meet the Money® brings together 400 hospitality executives and capital providers to discuss the latest trends in hotel finance in a casual and lively atmosphere.  Meet the Money® 2015 will provide the latest information on hotel industry fundamentals and numerous panel discussions by the industry’s top thought leaders and innovators. The conference will include two evening receptions, two breakfasts and lunches, and plenty of networking time to meet leaders and make deals. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
4 August 2014

Frequently Asked Questions about EB-5 project financing
for new hotel development

by

Jim Butler and Jonathan Bloch
Partners, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP

 

Why is there so much buzz about EB-5 financing?

In the last five years, EB-5 financing has become extremely popular in development circles and is being widely used by mainstream, institutional players including government entities such as port authorities, major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton, and some of the largest owners of hotels and restaurants. EB-5 financing has provided low-cost, non-recourse, five to six year term financing for construction and development of new projects and offers a number of advantages to developers.

What is EB-5?

EB-5 is a provision in the United States immigration laws. It is the fifth “Employment Based” immigration provision providing expedited visa processing (hence “EB-5″). The program is a win-win-win arrangement giving wealthy immigrants the opportunity to earn a “fast-track” for a US green card if they make an investment of $500,000 or $1 million, and create a minimum of at least 10 permanent US jobs. In return, communities get the benefit of economic stimulation created by this investment and the new jobs. And developers get a valuable source of financing for new projects that is otherwise more difficult to obtain.

Is EB-5 funding available for new development and new construction?

Because foreign investor money must create NEW US jobs, construction and development projects are the normal target of EB-5 financing investment. Although the law does not restrict the nature of the investment to real estate, foreign investors have demonstrated a clear preference for real estate-related projects, particularly hotels, restaurants and resorts. EB-5 financing can also be used to add new facilities to existing ones, such as a new tower of hotel rooms, a spa, a restaurant or nightclub. And, in limited circumstances, EB-5 financing can be used to rescue a bankrupt or failing business, but this exception is difficult to use. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
30 July 2014

How should hotel developers go after EB-5 financing?

Although the EB-5 immigrant visa program has been around since 1990, the current trend of using this as a source of financing for hotel development began only three years ago. We worked on one of the first hotel EB-5 financings for the W Hotel and Residences in Hollywood, and have since worked on more than 60 EB-5 projects all over the country. Now, use of the EB-5 financing program has gone mainstream. Headline grabbers include the $400 million financing of the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas, the $100 million Ritz Carlton & JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles and now the $1 billion Silverstein project to be built in New York City with a Four Seasons Hotel.

As a growing number of savvy hotel developers hurry to assess the EB-5 financing opportunity, they frequently receive conflicting advice as to the best way to pursue EB-5 financing. Many immigration lawyers and advisors tout the advantages of the developer forming its own regional center — basically to shave a few points off the all-in cost of EB-5 financing.

Although this advice may work well for the EB-5 advisors (in that they get $100,000 or more of fees), for most of the hotel developers we know, forming a captive regional center is a bad idea. This article should provide a note of caution for developers considering this course.

Based on our extensive experience with financing hotel development from EB-5 funding sources, we believe that the answer for most hotel developers will be to obtain “preferred” status for themselves and their projects — if they can do so — and to tap into the very best established EB-5 funding sources.  For more on this approach, see “Hotel development financing: How to win the race for EB-5 capital.CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
29 July 2014

A viable source of capital and now mainstream

The EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa program offers an alternative means of raising capital for hotel development projects in the U.S., and the lawyers in JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Chinese Investment Group™ have worked on more than sixty EB-5 projects all over the United States.

Over just the past 3 years, the EB-5 program has quickly gained the support of some of the largest, institutional-quality developers as well as major hotel brands. Perhaps a bit late, many developers have recently noticed the significant capital being raised through EB-5 and they are scrambling to catch up with those already far down the track.

Looming problem of limited bandwidth

Fortunately, EB-5 capital remains abundantly available. But unfortunately, there is limited bandwidth to tap into it. As a result, the competition of developers for access has become quite intense as they seek to gain the attention of the small number of players with the track record of success to complete their capital raise, and the increasingly discerning EB-5 investors who are much more careful today on who they trust with their immigration visa investment.

Why it is important to gain “preferred” status

Not surprisingly, the hotel developers who will win this race to receive EB-5 funding for their projects will be “preferred” hotel developers in every sense – preferred as to the excellence of the track record and experience of the developer, the quality of the project, the structure of the deal to satisfy EB-5 investor requirements and protect the developer, the experience and relationships with Regional Centers and sales teams, and experienced Counselors to advise on every aspect of the project.

The JMBM Global Hospitality Group® helps high quality developers with great projects achieve this “preferred” status and win the race for EB-5 capital. Some background on which developers and deals will be successful in raising EB-5 capital may be helpful in order to understand the importance of planning, structuring and positioning necessary to obtain the best result. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
25 July 2014

EB-5 financing has gone mainstream for hotel development

The use of EB-5 financing has exploded over the past 3 years as an important funding source for new hotel development. It is clearly now part of the “mainstream” being used with great success by increasingly institutional companies. Marriott was among the earliest advocates for the program and has used it for many high profile hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott and Marriott Courtyard/Residence Inn hotels in DTLA. But more recently, other major brands have come on board and encourage developer use of EB-5 financing.

As lawyers who have worked on more than 60 EB-5 projects all over the country, we have noticed that everyone who investigates EB-5 financing wants answers to 5 big questions about the EB-5 financing opportunity for their project. It should come as no surprise that most of our EB-5 projects involve financing for new hotel development, because hotels are the most popular type of project for EB-5 investors and we have one of the most prominent hotel law practices in the world. However, our team has also successfully used EB-5 financing for a number of non-hotel projects including senior living, restaurants and solar farms.

The 5 questions every hotel developer is asking
about EB-5 financing

by
Jim Butler and Jonathan Bloch

In seeking to access EB-5 financing, our developer clients have asked a lot of questions, but most of them can really be summed up in the following 5 questions:

1. Will EB-5 work for me on my project?
2. How much money can I get?
3. How much will it cost?
4. How long will it take?
5. How can I get certainty of execution?

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

July 9, 2014

LOS ANGELES—The Global Hospitality Group® and the Chinese Investment Group™ at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP are pleased to announce the launch of a Chinese-language version of the Hotel Law Blog. It is available as a new tab on www.HotelLawyer.com or it can be accessed directly at www.ChineseHotelLawBlog.com.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

Hotel Lawyer looking at the EB-5 program

Over the past 5 years, JMBM’s team has helped clients with more than 40 EB-5 projects all over the U.S. The program is more popular than ever and the standards continue to rise for sponsors who want to advantage of this funding technique.

I asked Jonathan Bloch, a corporate partner and Senior Member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®, to put together an Executive Summary and Overview of the EB-5 Program for investors and developers wanting to explore the funding source for new projects.

Here it is.

An Executive Summary and Overview of the EB-5 Program
by
Jonathan R. Bloch | Senior Member of the Global Hospitality Group®

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, Congress has allocated 10,000 EB-5 visas for investors designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. Of the 10,000 visas available annually for immigrant investors, 3,000 are reserved for investments in Targeted Employment Areas and another 3,000 are set aside for investment through the Regional Center Program.

Up until very recently, the EB-5 Program has been both controversial and underutilized. However, as a result of some positive developments by the USCIS, the Program has been revised to make EB-5 investments more readily available and easier to obtain. In addition, due to the difficult financing market that developers have faced, the number of petitions has increased from 332 in 2005 to 4,156 in 2012, and the approval rates for the Program have risen from 53 percent to 79 percent.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
16 June 2014

The growth of outbound Chinese investment

Earlier this month we posted an article about the surge in Chinese investment as reported by Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times. See, “China and JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group™ are in the news again!”

That article prominently featured the Sheraton Gateway LAX hotel, its 15% increase in Chinese travelers since the beginning of the year, and its purchase by our Shenzen Hazens Real Estate Group, and JMBM’s role as counsel to Shenzen Hazens.

Special Report Just Released: Growing Together — China and LA County Report – June 2014

Tiffany Hsu’s article also summarized some of the interesting data from a new report dated June 2014 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LACEDEC), entitled “Growing Together — China and Los Angeles County.” A full copy of LACEDEC’s Growing Together report (the “Growing Together Report” or simply the “Report”) can be downloaded by clicking the link at the end of this article.

But here are the “Key Findings” of the Report:

  • Investment into Los Angeles County from China has doubled over the past 5 years, with China becoming one of Los Angeles County’s top investors
  • China and Los Angeles County continue to increase business and commercial ties and the opportunities for Los Angeles
  • Tourism has nearly quadrupled over the past four years alone, from 158,000 Chinese tourists in 2009 to 570,000 in 2013, making China the top overseas market for Los Angeles tourism
  • Los Angeles is America’s top international trade gateway to China and China’s top gateway to the U.S., handling nearly 45% of trade between the two countries
  • China is the Los Angeles Customs District’s (LACD’s) #1 partner in international trade, accounting for nearly 60% of all activity at the San Pedro Bay ports
  • LACD exports to China have increased from $23 billion in 2009 to $35 billion in 2013 – less waste and scrap and more consumer and knowledge-intensive goods
  • Los Angeles County has the largest Chinese population of any county in the nation, and has grown from 360,000 in 2008 to 413,000 in 2012
  • Los Angeles County has the largest number of Chinese students of any county in the nation, increasing from roughly 3,000 Chinese students studying in local universities in 2009 to roughly 10,000 in 2013
  • Strong cultural and network ties are the foundation of the relationship
  • Future business prospects may be found in clean tech, entertainment, aerospace, e-commerce, real estate/property development, tourism, logistics and electronics.

CONTINUE READING →