Articles Posted in Buying and Selling a Hotel

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26 April 2014

Some are calling it the “distressed real estate gold rush in Europe.” Others who have been expecting 1990s-style opportunistic investment opportunities for several years, now are seeing a change in European banks’ willingness to sell distressed loans at discounts to clean up their books. Several significant deals have been announced with big name investors and more are underway.

What is happening? And what is the opportunity for investors? Is it too late already?

Troubled European banks with soured real estate loans

Following the U.S. economic crash, Europe fell into recession and largely remains mired in a sluggish economy, high unemployment and depressed real estate values. European banks have suffered greatly along with their customers as real estate loans have soured.

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, European banks were finally recognizing approximately $1.4 trillion in nonperforming loans at the end of 2013, up from $715 billion in 2008. For years after the financial crisis, the European banks were not marking down the loan collateral and classifying their loans. They took no decisive action to deal with their bad loans.

But now that is changing. European banks are at an inflection point. According to the PwC report, in 2013, banks sold $90.5 billion worth of troubled debt to investors, compared with $64 billion in 2012, an increase of more than 40%. The European Central Bank is the driving force in this new development and 2014 is likely to set new records.

Troubled loan purchases or restructuring deals are on a dramatic rise. Deals have been announced by the likes of Oaktree Capital Management, Apollo Global Management, Centerbridge Partners, Angelo Gordon, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs.

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15 April 2014

DTLA against the San Gabriel Mountains - WSJThe coolest new downtown in America

If you haven’t been to what the cognoscenti now call “DTLA” (downtown Los Angeles) for a while, you might not recognize it. Gone are the days the sidewalks were rolled up at 5:00 pm and you had to go to Hollywood or Santa Monica for drinks or some fun. Earlier this year, Brett Martin of GQ magazine dubbed it “the coolest new downtown in America.”

In fact, the introduction to Brett Martin’s article is a great summary of the miraculous change in the demographics of DTLA that provide part of the reason that everyone seems to want to buy or build a hotel in Los Angeles today. Here is what it said:

America’s Next Great City Is Inside L.A.

For decades, Downtown has been the dark center of L.A.: a wasteland of half-empty office buildings and fully empty streets. But amid the glittering towers and crumbly Art Deco facades, a new generation of adventurous chefs, bartenders, loft dwellers, artists, and developers are creating a neighborhood as electrifying and gritty as New York in the ’70s. Brett Martin navigates his way through the coolest new downtown in America.

What does this “renaissance” mean in terms of the LA market for hoteliers?

Expanding markets are good for the hotel business. DTLA has become a destination and a hub of activity and excitement. Los Angeles has had so little hotel development over the past few decades, that it is one of the most underserved markets in the US now. And as hotel room rates jump, it is suddenly feasible to buy or build hotels that made no economic sense just a little while ago.

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6 February 2014

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce the successful closing of a number of hotel and real estate purchases by members of its Chinese Investment Group™. The attorneys in JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group™ help Chinese investors make investments in the United States – particularly those involving hotels and real estate. They also provide guidance on corporate structure, formation, tax issues, governance and regulatory compliance.

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26 December 2013

The hotel lawyers of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Chinese Investment Group™ assisted Hazens Investment, LLC, in the company’s purchase of the 15-story, 802-room Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel, located close to Los Angeles International Airport.

Hazens Investment is a subsidiary of Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group Co. Ltd., one of the top 100 largest construction and development companies in China, based in Shenzhen, China. Hazens Investment and the seller, an affiliate of Long Wharf Real Estate Partners, closed the deal on November 19, 2013.

“With a great deal of experience in representing Chinese investors over the years, we have formed a special practice group to assist China-based clients in successfully closing transactions in the U.S.,” said Jim Butler, Chairman of JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group™ and Global Hospitality Group®. The acquisition of the Sheraton Gateway marks Shenzhen’s first U.S. based acquisition.

Greg Sun, Vice President of Hazens Investment, stated: “When we engaged U.S. counsel for the transaction, we not only sought out a law firm expert in the hospitality industry, which JMBM is known for, but also specifically a Mandarin speaking attorney like Chang, who could not only communicate in Mandarin directly with Shenzhen’s key personnel during the negotiations, but also understands the cultural differences of doing business in China and the U.S. and is able to bridge that gap.”

JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group® is a dedicated team of hotel, real estate and corporate lawyers that advise Chinese investors in making prudent and economically successful investments in hotels and real estate in the U.S.

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13 December 2013

Hotel Lawyer with some insights on buying and developing golf courses.

Hotel investors suddenly seem to be buying or building more golf courses. With the right expectations and circumstances, golf courses can make sense — particularly as an amenity for hotels, residential development and other real estate. But as more hospitality clients look at golf courses, it seems appropriate to consider the drivers of this renewed interest, and some of the similarities golf courses share with other hospitality investments such as hotels. And finally, we want to look at some of the big factors that make golf courses very different from other hospitality investments, so you can avoid some unnecessary pitfalls.

Why the increased interest in golf courses?

Interest in golf courses has likely increased for a number of reasons, including the continuing overall improvement in the economy, favorable projections for the hotel industry, the return of home builders to the active market, and the likely surge in new development in 2014 and beyond. In addition, it is now well proven that “mixed-use” really works, and that includes adding a golf amenity for hotels, condos, residential and other real estate product. On top of all this, there is a wave of Asian investment and tourism — particularly Chinese — that favors golf.

Many of these investors and developers are familiar with hotels, and have established teams of experts that are familiar with hotels — but they often don’t have golf course-specific experience and capabilities.

That is why it is important to realize that hotels are different (from golf courses) though they share a number of characteristics and are often both regarded as “hospitality” product. Recognizing the similarities and the important differences will enable investors and developers to fill in potential gaps of expertise to avoid unnecessary problems.

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18 September 2013

A version of this article was first published in the September 21, 2013 issue of Hotel Business and is reprinted with permission.

The number of hotel transactions is up by more than 50% for the first 6 months of 2013 over the comparable period last year, and is expected to top $18 billion for 2013, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. And HVS reports that the sales transaction volume of hotels is now intersecting its 22-year moving average, and predicts that hotel values will continue to grow at an average of 12% for each of the next 3 years (substantially less than the past couple of years, but still a nice increase in value).

These numbers are only the tip of the economic iceberg that hotel owners and investors analyze in depth, to help make decisions as to the right time to buy and sell hotels. As they delve deeper, they are finding a confluence of economic and market conditions that spell “opportunity.”

But how can it be a great time to buy and sell hotels? Why does the same environment indicate such different courses of investment strategy?

We will look at some of the factors that create this fertile ground, while keeping in mind that every owner and investor has a specific circumstance, investment horizon, capital situation and objective, and every hotel property has a specific condition, value, and potential for additional appreciation.

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8 March 2013

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® announces publication of the How to Buy a Hotel Handbook.

The Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) today announced the release of the How to Buy a Hotel Handbook, third in the “We Wrote the Book™” series of handbooks published by the Group’s hotel lawyers.

Jim Butler is the Chairman of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. The How to Buy a Hotel Handbook is based on the experience Jim’s team has gained from more than $60 billion of hotel transactions involving more than 1,300 hotels all over the world. The Handbook provides a detailed overview of the hotel acquisition process, a thorough due diligence checklist, and informative articles that address some of the most important questions that arise when buying or selling a hotel.

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21 February 2013

Hotel Lawyers with Lodging Industry assessment: Demand is strong, supply is weak. RevPAR is healthy. What’s not to like?

We continue to receive calls from hotel owners, developers, investors, lenders, and members of the media asking, “What is the hospitality investment outlook for 2013 and beyond?”
There is a growing optimism among industry veterans and many of them are revitalizing acquisition (and a few development) projects. The level of activity has kicked up a notch or two.

One thing that everyone likes: barring unforeseen events, the stage is set for continuing improvement in hotel industry fundamentals and hotel valuations for at least 5 years – through 2017.

This presents a very attractive backdrop for investors, and experienced investors are already putting their plans in motion.

1. Fundamentals: What the numbers say

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20 February 2014

Hotel Lawyer with some great information for our friends who want to know more about how to buy a hotel.

Bruce Baltin and I are very excited to announce the release of a publication that has been in the works for many years (see below). As most of you know, Bruce Baltin is Senior Vice President of PKF Consulting. He has been a long-time friend, and great resource for help on anything involving the hotel industry.

The name of our just-released publication is:


How to Buy a Hotel:

A Detailed Overview of the Hotel Acquisition Process

As the title suggests, this publication is an “overview.” However, at almost 30 pages, it is quite a detailed overview of the entire hotel acquisition process.

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17 February 2013

Hotel Lawyer on buying hotels

Our hotel lawyers spend a big part of their time helping clients identify and vet attractive hotel acquisition targets, and then get them under contract, run a thorough (but fast) due diligence, arrange financing and execute on the purchase. Often there is a lot of follow up work in repositioning the property or cleaning up some old problems.

But one of the perennial questions we hear from people is, “Is this a good time to buy a hotel?”
A little more than 2 years ago, my partner Guy Maisnik wrote an article on this very subject. It was called “So you think you want to buy a hotel?” That article has been one of our best-read pieces on Hotel Law Blog, and similar questions keep bouncing around. So we persuaded Guy to write an update, which continuing improvements in the hotel industry forced him to rename: “NOW is a great time to buy a hotel (and not a bad time to sell)”.

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