Hotel Equities, Virtua Partners to Grow Hospitality Footprint

Virtua will be making a series of investments totaling more than $500 million, to help the Atlanta-based firm move into new regions in the U.S. and Canada and expand in current markets.
Fred Cerrone and Brad Rahinsky
Fred Cerrone, founder & chairman, and Brad Rahinsky, president & CEO, Hotel Equities (Image courtesy of Hotel Equities)

Hotel Equities is ready to grow its footprint in the U.S. and Canada. The Atlanta-based hotel management and development firm has a new infusion of more than $500 million from global private equity firm Virtua Partners to make it happen.

The capital will come from a series of investments from Virtua, a Phoenix-based firm that has been working on several deals with Hotel Equities for nearly three years now, according to Brad Rahinsky, Hotel Equities president & CEO.

“This capital infusion allows us to expand our platform as we look to grow Hotel Equities through acquisitions and organic growth. Our mission is to provide outstanding service to our key stakeholders and deliver strong returns to our owners,” Fred Cerrone, founder & chairman of Hotel Equities, said in a prepared statement.

The firm, founded by Cerrone in 1989, provides management and development services to 115 properties across 25 states and two Canadian provinces—Alberta, where it has three properties in the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, and Ontario, where Hotel Equities has two properties in Toronto. Hotel Equities manages premium brands, primarily with Marriott and Hilton, with asset classes that include suburban, urban upscale boutique and resort-style destination properties. Current brands include Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownPlace Suites, Tru by Hilton, Four Points, Courtyard, DoubleTree, Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites.

Quinn Palomino, principal, Virtua Partners
Quinn Palomino, principal, Virtua Partners (Image courtesy of Virtua Partners)

“Hotel Equities is an industry leader in hospitality management and development. HE has a 29-year award-winning track record for employee recruitment, training and retention. This culture of service permeates throughout the entire company. Virtua Partners is excited to invest in such a dynamic organization,” Quinn Palomino, principal of Virtua Partners, said in a prepared statement.

Building a bond

Virtua and Hotel Equities have worked together in the past, mostly on some one-offs in the Phoenix area, Rahinsky told Commercial Property Executive. In March 2017, Virtua announced Hotel Equities would be managing two properties in the Phoenix area under development by an affiliate, Quyp Hospitality LLC – a Fairfield Inn & Suites with 120 guestrooms in Tolleson, Ariz., and a 130-key SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Avondale, Ariz.

“It’s been a little bit of a dating period,” he said. “We’ve had tremendous success with those one-offs. Now we have confidence that we can take that model and scale it with the aligned vision of our two companies.”

Rahinsky said the plan is two grow in two ways. First is by scaling up in areas where they already have a few hotels that are performing well, such as Denver, Houston and Dallas. The firm is also eying new markets where it feels it can make an immediate impact including the Northwest and Midwest. He said Hotel Equities will also be considering portfolio acquisitions and value-add properties that may be underperforming and would be improved through the firm’s proprietary labor models and cost initiatives.

Virtua, which specializes in commercial real estate, and its affiliates sponsor a variety of investment funds and projects across the U.S. and currently have 16 million square feet of assets under management or development. In December, the firm entered into an agreement to purchase 13 properties through its now-closed Virtua Land Acquisition Fund I. The fund was focused mostly on entry-level residential properties, both single-family and multifamily. The properties, totaling 269 acres in several Arizona cities and Leander, Texas, were purchased for $22.2 million. Palomino said at the time the fund structure allowed Virtua to increase scale and efficiency rather than capitalizing each project individually.