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Reggie Jackson Hotel, Conference Center and Baseball Hall of Fame?

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5 March 2007
In case you missed it, it has just been announced that former baseball star Reggie Jackson is the mystery developer of a proposed 252 room hotel and conference center in Seaside, California. At this point, Reggie joins a long line of celebrities and athletes jumping on the hotel mixed-use bandwagon we have covered here at The band wagon already has many famous riders, including Bill Gates and Prince Al Waleed, Blackstone, Morgan Stanley in its acquisition of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Barry Sternlicht on his investments in China and India, as well as his launch of new brands such as the “1” and the Crillon, Paul Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, Donald Trump, Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf?

Why is this important and why should we care?

Celebrity involvement significance

Everyone loves to see what celebrities are doing. It sells magazines, movie tickets and often much more.

Some celebrities we watch because they are famous for being good investors or smart money. We think of Blackstone, Apollo, Morgan Stanley, Barry Sternlicht, Bill Gates, Prince Al Waleed, Paul Allen, and perhaps Donald Trump in this category. They have track records of success, and access to virtually unlimited resources to find the best investments and the ideal time to make them. They also could invest in anything they wanted to without restriction on size of investment, industry or location. When we see these investors go into hotel mixed-use investments with huge investments, often up to or exceeding $1 billion, we think that this must be a smart investment and good time to be doing it. Indeed!

And when our favorite sports stars or other celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf — and now Reggie Jackson — make a significant move into hotel mixed-use, we notice, because it makes the headlines, and these are famous people. And most of the time, they are advised financially by some of the most savvy investment advisors in the world. So their moves may well reflect the action of “smart money.” But in any event, we all know it.

So what does it mean the Reggie Jackson is going into hotel mixed-use in Seaside California?

When one of our other esteemed clients made a huge hotel mixed-use investment in Seaside, it made the news, but not the kind of headlines that Reggies’s name provokes. But we think the message is the same:

Development. In many markets and for many projects — each of which must be analyzed individually as to its merits and feasibility — this is a great time for development of state-or-the art hotel mixed-use projects where a hotel component is the spark plug for creating life, vitality and value for other components in the project. In many such situations, the cost to build now is justifiably less than the cost to buy or the value created with hotel-enhanced mixed-use,
Brands. Brands are very valuable — particularly in the lodging industry. Brands are hard to establish and take a lot of time and money to develop, so there are big barriers to creating new brands.

Luxury. The luxury segment of the lodging industry is likely to be a great place for the near, medium and long term horizon. There are greater barriers to entry, and bigger gains in RevPAR and profits ahead.

Hotel mixed-use. This term will become the password to success in the next decade. It refers to mixed-use projects where the hotel component is the keystone to creating and enhancing value. But successful projects will not just plop hotels next to or on top of residential or retail elements. Integration and complimentary uses must be optimized with people who understand the hotel and other uses of real estate involved. (That is the focus of our Hotel Developers Conference.)

Lodging industry prospects. The lodging industry prospects are excellent for the near and medium term. The fundamentals are all in place. I know it is popular to say, “It cannot continue to be this good much longer,” but I disagree. And the smart money agrees with me. So be alert, but relax. It is OK to harvest the good times too!

Is this really the time to develop hotels? And if so how?

Ironically, before I saw the news about Reggie Jackson developing a new hotel mixed-use project with a conference center, I wrote only yesterday about the investment of big money into hotel mixed-use and its implications. (See, “A billion here, a billion there. (Ho Hum) Isn’t it time we developed some hotels again?”)

The question I raised in that posting is “how do we develop hotels ‘smarter’ and how do we get it right this time?”
This is a critical issue. How do we avoid the mistakes of the past? How do we develop smarter and better so that we are financially more secure and stable — and more profitable and insulated from cyclical downturns?

This will be the focus of JMBM’s conference this coming week — The Hotel Developers Conference™ in Rancho Mirage, California on March 7-8, 2007 in Rancho Mirage, California on March 7-8, 2007. There is still some room for last minute registration if you haven’t signed up yet.

This conference is focused on hotel development and construction — but particularly on hotel-enhanced mixed-use where a hotel is the “sparkplug” for the project, designed to enhance the excitement and sustain attendance and involvement of project visitors.

Why focus on hotel-enhanced mixed-use? Because everything we see suggests that hotel mixed-use is the hottest thing going in the industry and holds the greatest potential for developers and other stakeholders in a new project. You won’t want to miss this conference if you are involved in – or considering – any kind of hotel development, but particularly hotel-enhanced mixed-use development.

What is hotel mixed-use? What does it mean to some of the most successful developers in the country? Hear their stories. Why did they do it? How did it turn out? What uses mix well together? When do you add club, fractional, spa, retail, residential, office, sports, waterpark or other components? How do you integrate the elements? What drives the economics and what are the IRR premiums? What’s happened to change the feasibility of going “green”? Can you afford not to go “green” anymore? Where are we in the condo hotel phenomenon?

We have the top leaders of the industry answering all these questions and more at The Hotel Developers Conference™ (March 7-8, 2007) in Rancho Mirage. Some of the companies sharing their experience are listed below.

Owners and developers

such as: Ensemble Real Estate Services, Excel Realty Holdings, Gatehouse Capital, Gencom Group, General Growth Properties, HEI Hospitality, Irongate, John Buck Company, Palladian Development, Shea Properties, Triyar and Winston Hotels.

Hotel brands, operators, lifestyle, spa and wellness living companies such as: Boutique Club, Ambrose Group, Carlson, Dolce, Fairmont Raffles, InterContinental, Miraval Resort & Spa, Morgans, Renaissance ClubSport, Valencia Group and WTS International.

Advisers and consultants at the forefront of hotel mixed-use development on issues including hotels, green development, waterparks, spas and wellness, including: Berins & Co, CP Strategy, JLC, Johnson Consulting, Manhattan Hospitality, PKF Consulting, Plasencia Group, Warnick & Co, and Jerry Thoele.

Leading architects, including: Belzberg Architects, Cooper Robertson & Partners, RTKL, Gensler, and WATG.

Industry leaders in hotel project finance, insurance, luxury residential marketing, and other areas, including Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, Sonnenblick-Goldman, The Greenwich Group International, Vacation Finance, Marsh USA, S&P Destination Properties, SunBurst MarketingI will be there, of course, and invite the readers of to join with us for what promises to be a very interesting dialogue for these very interesting times. If you sign up now, I have a surprise and a free gift for you that I think will be a great resource in your library for years to come.


Our Perspective.
We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $125 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 4,700 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” or “hotel mixed-use” or “condo hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® — a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $87 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 3,900 properties located around the globe.

Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right “fit” for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.

Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim’s books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.

Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm’s Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit

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