$80M Charleston Place Loan One of This Year’s Largest Single-Asset Financings

According to real estate investment banking firm Sonnenblick-Eichner Co., which orchestrated the loan on behalf of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., the deal marks one of the largest single asset bank financings for a hotel property year to date.

November 18, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Financing to the tune of $80 million has been put in place for Charleston Place, a 435-room luxury hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. According to real estate investment banking firm Sonnenblick-Eichner Co., which orchestrated the loan on behalf of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., the deal marks one of the largest single asset bank financings for a hotel property year to date.

Charleston Place has made its home at 202 Meeting Street in the historic Peninsula District since 1986 when the Cordish Company and the Taubman Company completed development of what was then an Omni Hotels-branded destination. In addition to its upscale guestrooms, Charleston Place features 37,000 square feet of meeting and banquet facilities, two restaurants, a 20,000 square-foot spa and fitness center, as well as 57,000 square feet of retail space occupied by a list of 25 retailers that includes the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Orient-Express owns a 20 percent stake in Charleston Place as part of Charleston Center L.L.C., a consolidated variable interest entity. In pursuing a loan for the property, Sonnenblick-Eichner managed to attract a great deal of attention from lenders. Ultimately, two unidentified international banks provided the first mortgage non-recourse financing with pricing under 4 percent. Sonnenblick-Eichner principal Patrick Brown noted that due to the emerging liquidity experienced in today’s capital markets, the firm was able to generate interest from domestic and international commercial banks as well as life insurance firms, investment banks, mortgage REITs and real estate debt funds.

The premier sponsorship played a significant role in securing financing, and increasing improvements in fundamentals surely helped, too. Charleston Place reported 20 percent revenue growth in the third quarter.