A New Buying Binge for Carey Watermark?

Carey Watermark was more than a little acquisitive in 2014 and 2015 could bring more of the same.
Westin Minneapolis

Carey Watermark Inc. was more than a little acquisitive in 2014 and 2015 could bring more of the same. The lodging REIT recently announced its first purchase of the year, the 214-room Westin Minneapolis, which the company snapped up from HEI Hospitality for $66.4 million.

In addition to the purchase price, the transaction included $3.2 million of acquisition-related costs and panned capital expenditures.

The property is a prime example of historic reuse and preservation. Located at 88 S. 6th St. in downtown Minneapolis, the building first opened its doors in 1942 as the home of the Farmers & Mechanics Bank. In 2007, then owner Ryan Cos. completed the conversion of the property into the Westin and soon after HEI, having previously entered into a forward purchase agreement, acquired the hotel for $40.5 million.

For CWI, the property was quite a find. “CWI’s investment in the Westin Minneapolis represented the opportunity to acquire an irreplaceable landmark and leading full-service hotel in a strong market,” Michael Medzigian, CEO of CWI, said in a press release. “Our ability to acquire a consistently yielding, quality property with unique inherent long-term value that requires minimal near-term capital investment made it a particularly attractive acquisition for Carey Watermark Investors.”

The Westin Minneapolis transaction comes on the heels of a bit of a fourth-quarter shopping spree. In the last three months of 2014, CWI announced four purchases, including the $57 million acquisition of the 295-room Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., in November. October proved a busy month with news that CWI had bought the 511-room Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., which was followed by the $38 million purchase of the 106-room Sanderling Resort in Duck, N.C., and then the $22.8 million acquisition of the 104-room Staybridge Suites Savannah Historic District in Savannah, Ga.

Times are good in the hotel sector. “Analysts are projecting RevPAR growth in the 6-7 percent range.  In 2014 we saw group business rebound in a big way. From a supply standpoint you have certain markets experiencing significant additions to supply, however, total supply growth in the U.S. has been below the long-term average growth rate for five consecutive years now, resulting in great compression,” Medzigian told Commercial Property Executive. “These conditions should make for another great year to own and acquire hotels.  We have been one of the largest acquirers of hotels over the last few years, and we expect there to continue to be attractive investment opportunities that we will pursue.”