Articles Posted in Condo Hotels

Published on:

28 November, 2014
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Condo hotels: Don’t forget the secret sauce!

by

Jim Butler, Bob Braun and Guy Maisnik
Condo Hotel Lawyers

Condo hotels are back in vogue as “securities”

Developers particularly like the “new model” where condo hotel investments are offered as a “securities” using the new SEC Rule 506(c) for private placements with public solicitation.

Unfortunately, in their enthusiasm for this new model– which is well deserved – many developers will create dysfunctional structures that will be difficult or impossible to correct once they are put in place. These issues can all be avoided with an experienced team of experts who know and understand condo hotels.

What is right about this “new model”?

Condo hotels make sense in many situations. (See Condominium Hotels are hot! What is a Condo Hotel?) They can be a great financing device for developers, particularly at the luxury and high-end spectrum of hotel development. The “new model” of selling condo hotels as securities will clearly be the way to go in most situations. SEC Rule 506(c) is the key to this approach. (See: The “new breed” of condominium hotels — Key to financing new hotel development? Selling condo hotels as “securities” under new SEC Rule 506(c) . . .)

So what’s the problem?

With the right team of experienced experts, there is no problem. But some people don’t recognize the legal and business complexity of a condo hotel. Every mixed-use project introduces new dimensions of issues for development, design and operation. And a condo hotel adds an entirely new dimension of issues related to hotel operations, condo hotel operations, integration of the project components, design of the rental program and terms of participation by condo owners in that program. Who owns what? Who pays for what? Who gets to use what? How are these terms implemented in CC&Rs, HOA articles and bylaws, rental agreements, maintenance agreements, and the like? CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

05 November 2014
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High end hotel development in 2015

Almost every developer of a high end or luxury hotel in 2015 will at least consider using the condo hotel approach as a financing technique for new development, conversion or adaptive reuse projects.

Anyone evaluating a condo hotel structure needs to know, that with recent changes in the law, there are now two different approaches available:

(1) Non-Security Approach — This is the traditional approach used for almost every condo hotel offering for the last 50 years. It requires that the offering avoid characterization as involving a “security. ” The article below (Using condo hotels for financing new hotel development: The traditional condo hotel structures as “non-securities”) describes this approach. It explains the original formula for condo hotels and, although published in 2005, it continues to provide accurate guidance as to what developers will have to do if they want to avoid treating the condo hotel units as securities.

(2) Security Approach (as a private placement) — The new approach, resulting from the recent change in SEC Rule 506(c), now makes if feasible for most developers to offer condo hotels in private placements to accredited investors with mandatory rental programs and other features that render them “securities.” (see Condo hotel revolution and resurgence: Why developers are using “new breed” of condo hotels for financing.)

We think that most developers will now take advantage of the second approach under the SEC’s new Rule 506(c). They will treat their offerings as private placements of investment contract securities, and avoid all the challenges they otherwise face in avoiding securities status under the traditional condo hotel approach. But look at both approaches and you be the judge!

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

01 November 2014

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What is a Condominium Hotel (or Condo Hotel)?

Definition of a real estate legacy

by

Jim Butler, Bob Braun and Guy Maisnik
Condo Hotel Lawyers

A rebirth of the condo hotel phenomenon

Condominium hotels (or “condo hotels” as they are commonly called) are back in the news again. It seems like every high-end or luxury hotel development is at least considering using the condo hotel approach. The renewed interest is fueled by recovery of residential real estate markets, high construction costs for high end hotel rooms, and the recent change in SEC Rule 506(c) that has completely changed the “securities” dynamics on condo hotels. (On this latter issue, see “The “new breed” of condo hotels — Key to financing new hotel development? Selling condo hotels as “securities” under new SEC Rule 506(c) . . .“)

There are many important issues to discuss about condo hotels – whether they make sense, whether to structure them as real estate or securities, what regime structure best ensures a sound hotel operation, who owns what and who pays for what, and much more. But the first question many people ask, is “What is a condo hotel?”

What is a condo hotel?

Condo hotels enjoyed their first wave of popularity in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. And the term “condo hotel” is often applied (or misapplied) to a wide variety of real estate structures.

The Condo Hotel Lawyers in JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® think of condo hotels in the following terms, and condo hotel veterans generally agree:

What is a condo hotel?

Definition: A condo hotel is a hotel where some or all the rooms have been legally transformed into condominium units which are sold to purchasers, and where it is intended that the condominium units will be part of the hotel’s rooms inventory to be rented to the public and operated by the hotel management.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

30 October 2014

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Condo hotel revolution and resurgence:
Why developers are using “new breed” of condo hotels for financing

One “little” legal change has revolutionized and revitalized condo hotels

by

Jim Butler, Bob Braun and Guy Maisnik
Condo Hotel Lawyers

The condo hotel lawyers at JMBM have helped clients with more than 100 condo hotels and hotel condos. Our experience proves that well-structured condo hotels play a valuable role and have earned an enduring legacy in the hospitality industry. They make new hotel development feasible where limited financing and high construction costs would otherwise be prohibitive. And now one recent legal change sweeps away some of the knotty issues that have hampered condo hotel growth, and reignites the popularity of this approach with a “new breed” of condo hotels.

We are now at a pivotal point for condo hotels. We are witnessing the complete turnaround in the way developers will structure condo hotel deals — particularly for high-end and luxury properties. This 180 degree turnaround in approach is creating a new and better breed of condo hotels that builds upon past successes and takes a giant step forward.

This was all accomplished with the stroke of a pen late last year when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted Rule 506(c) in response to the express requirements of the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act required the SEC to eliminate the prohibition on using “general solicitation” in private placements under Rule 506 where all the purchasers of the securities are “accredited investors.” Effectively, this single legal change has suddenly made it feasible for most hotel developers to structure and sell their condo hotel projects as “securities.”

This is a big change! Over the past 50 years or more, with only a few isolated exceptions, all condo hotel deals were tortured monstrosities of legal convolution. Because of the prior securities laws, it was not practical for most developers to have their offering be considered a “security” because it was not practical to register the securities with the SEC (as in an IPO), and general public solicitation is essential to the sale of real estate like condo hotel units. However, under the prior law, achieving the critical “non-security” status imposed some nonsensical legal requirements.

Most of these absurdities resulted from the fact that investors typically buy condo hotels as an investment and want the kind of information that would be relevant to making an intelligent investment decision. However the prior SEC rules effectively prevented developers from selling condo hotels as an investment with the relevant information and structure to provide the greatest prospects of success. This created the practical paradox that it was illegal for developers to sell condo hotels as an investment, but it was not illegal for buyers to purchase condo hotels as an investment (and most buyers did so).

Practical implications of the new approach

In other articles, we intend to provide more background and detail for those who are new to the condo hotel scene. But this piece is designed for those who already know the basics, and perhaps even struggled with the limitations of condo hotel structure under the old rules. Thus, we move straight to the key considerations that hampered condo hotels under the old rules, and explore how the “new breed” of condo hotels (structured as securities to take advantage of the latest legal changes) is now positioned to become the dominant approach for this entire niche.

The table below summarizes some of the most significant requirements or features that distinguish the old approach of avoiding security status (and the old SEC rules on private offerings), from the new approach of accepting security status and complying with the new Rule 506(c). The critical requirement for the new approach is that all buyers of condo hotel units must be “accredited investors.” Generally speaking, this means that each purchaser must meet the requirement of either (1) a minimum net worth of $1 million (excluding primary residence), or (2) a minimum income of more than $200,000 per year (or $300,000 for a married couple) for each of the last two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year.

So here it is in a nutshell, or in this case, a table. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

14 August 2013

Hotel Lawyers on “hotel condo” units as securities (or NOT).

An important decision on when a condo hotel does NOT involve the sale of a “security”

by

Jim Butler, Bob Braun and Guy Maisnik
Condo Hotel Lawyers

One of the most significant challenges for developers of a condo hotel project is whether the sale of the condo units constitutes the sale of a “security.” If it does, the principals and sellers of the project will have much greater compliance issues, costs and liabilities, which could make the project unworkable.

We have been advising clients on these issues in connection with more than 100 hotel mixed-use transactions since 2000. The deals usually have a significant residential component (condo hotels, hotel condos, single family homes or home sites, etc.) retail, entertainment and other uses added to a core hotel component. The Ninth Circuit opinion in Salameh v. Tarsadia Hotel (CA-9, No. 11-55479) discussed today provides a significant new level of comfort for all involved in such matters.

In an important decision yesterday (August 13, 2013) written by Judge Ronald M. Gould, a 3-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower federal district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s lawsuit arising out of their purchase of hotel condominium units at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, a “condo-hotel.”

The case was filed as a class action by Tamer Salameh and other named plaintiffs against some of the most respected people in Southern California’s hospitality industry, including Tarsadia Hotel, Tushar Patel, B.U. Patel, Gregory Casserly and other defendants. Notably, Playground Destination Properties, one of the first developers and most esteemed marketing companies for condo hotels, was also named in the action.

Essential to the plaintiffs’ claims was their characterization of their purchase as involving “securities” under the federal securities laws. They said that defendants offered condominium units together with a rental-management program, and doing so, constituted the sale of a “security.” The lower court dismissed the case after giving plaintiffs an opportunity to amend, finding that the amended complaint still did not state facts sufficient to find the existence of a “security.” The lower court also dismissed related common law fraud claims. For background on this issue and its importance, see “Condo Hotel Lawyer: Why does the SEC care about condo hotels?
If you don’t know what a condo hotel is, or how it fits into hotel mixed-used, we have an entire section of HotelLawyer.com and HotelLawBlog devoted to condo hotels and to mixed-use. Just use the search bar at the top for any subject or click condo hotels or mixed use!

Why is this case important?

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

28 April 2011

Hotel Lawyer with more on the long-term future of condo hotels.

It is interesting that I got calls from two reporters about the state of the condo hotel sector this week. One from a major daily paper doing background research, and the other from a well-respected industry publication, MortgageOrb, published by Zackin Publications (which also publishes Commercial Mortgage Insight and Secondary Marketing Executive.)

Condo hotels have not been in the news for some time, and as hospitality transactions heat up, many are now wondering how and when this niche product will be resurrected.

Phil Hall of MortgageOrb asked some excellent questions about the condo hotel sector and our interview, titled Jim Butler Checks Out the Condo-Hotel Niche, published in MortgageOrb’s Person of the Week column, is reprinted below.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

14 April 2011

Hotel Lawyer with good news for well-structured condo hotel deals. With the experience gained as legal and business advisors on more than 100 condo hotel and hotel condo projects, we have said for many years that this type of project has earned an enduring place in the landscape of hotel and real estate development. We still believe that.

The main issues of successful hotel mixed-use development are managing consumer expectations, fulfilling those expectations, and creating a viable mixed-use regime structure. In the case of condo hotels, a viable structure must work from an operational standpoint, be economically sustainable, and avoid triggering violations of Federal and State securities laws.

In a recent lawsuit, involving the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, a federal district court in California ruled against the condo hotel buyers, finding that no securities laws were violated — the plaintiffs did not allege facts that would cause the condo hotel units to constitute “securities.” We see the case as affirming the effectiveness in defeating plaintiffs’ claims of two structural elements we have encouraged all our clients to use.

My partner, Catherine Holmes, who structures most of our condo hotel regimes, talks about these factors and the case below. Catherine advises clients in the specific business and legal aspects of condo hotel regime structuring and documentation, including securities compliance matters, documentation and training. In her article below, she talks about the case and what it means for us in the condo hotel world. It is good news!

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

22 December 2008

Please see “troubled hotel loans – workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships” for the latest articles on troubled hotels.

Hotel Lawyers on bankrupt condo hotel projects. The landscape is littered with condo hotel bankruptcies, foreclosures, workouts and investment opportunities. But as lenders hasten to clean up their balance sheets, and as opportunistic investors prepare to profit from buying at condo hotel foreclose or bankruptcy sales, or buying deep discount condo hotel debt or underlying assets, they should pause one moment. Unless they ask the right questions before they “jump” into the unknown, they may find themselves in a financially disastrous situation — at any price.

From experience gathered by our Global Hospitality Group®’s team of hotel lawyers in more than 100 condo hotel and hotel condo projects in the last 5 years, here are the balance of the 100+ questions to ask BEFORE foreclosing on or buying condo hotel assets.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

22 December 2008

Please see “troubled hotel loans – workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships” for the latest articles on troubled hotels.

Hotel Lawyers on bankrupt condo hotel projects. The landscape is littered with condo hotel bankruptcies, foreclosures, workouts and investment opportunities. But as lenders hasten to clean up their balance sheets, and as opportunistic investors prepare to profit from buying at condo hotel foreclose or bankruptcy sales, or buying deep discount condo hotel debt or underlying assets, they should pause one moment. Unless they ask the right questions before they “jump” into the unknown, they may find themselves in a financially disastrous situation — at any price.

From experience gathered by our Global Hospitality Group®’s team of hotel lawyers in more than 100 condo hotel and hotel condo projects in the last 5 years, here are 100+ questions to ask BEFORE foreclosing on or buying condo hotel assets.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

Restructuring distressed condominium hotel projects and
workouts of defaulted condo hotel loans for profit opportunities now.
Hotel lawyer on failed condo hotel turnarounds, workouts, bankruptcies and opportunistic investment.

Part 3

22 December 2008

Hotel Lawyers on restructuring distressed condo hotels. Restructuring distressed condo hotel projects and loans secured by them is moving to the top of the list for many lenders, owners and investors. Condo hotel deals are so complex and varied that there is no single “silver bullet” to take care of all problems. Combining JMBM’s legal and business experience in advising on more than 100 condo hotel and hotel condo deals with a veteran condo hotel expert, here is a 3-part article to explain: Part 1: the background and structure of the typical condo hotel, Part 2: critical differences between condo hotel restructurings and those with traditional hotels, and Part 3: a unique approach to working out some troubled condo hotel projects.

CONTINUE READING →