UBS Sells Historic New Orleans Hotel to Local Partnership

After 28 years, Hartford-based UBS Realty sold Omni Royal Orleans to a partnership of Crow Holdings private local investors. UBS and the investors have declined to disclose the price. UBS Realty regularly buys and sells properties in investor portfolios to execute portfolio diversification and risk strategies and to attempt to earn the best possible return for our investors, according Kris Kagel of UBS.The hotel was owned by one of the investor portfolios that is advised by UBS Global Realty Investors, a division of UBS Global Asset Management. The buyers include Darryl Berger Jr. of DBJ Investments, Joe Jaeger of Mechanical Construction, Darryl Berger, Sr. of The Berger Co., and Roger Ogden of Ogden Developments. UBS was represented by Patrick Grasso and Chris McManus of Keystone Realty Capital L.L.C.The 4-star luxury hotel is right in the middle of the French Quarter. It was built in 1960 on the site where the St. Louis Hotel existed from 1836 to 1915. Omni Corporation has managed the hotel since 1986 and will continue to do so, although there are plans now for a complete renovation in the next two years. Since Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, several hotels have changed hands. These include the Wyndham Canal, which is now the Westin Canal. The Hotel Monaco is now the Hilton St. Charles Ave. and the Fairmont Hotel will soon wave the Waldorf Astoria flag–when renovations are complete. The Hyatt, near the superdome, is also undergoing major renovations. Katrina, of course, brought tourism to a standstill. “Believe it or not, we have no stats for 2005 at all. ” Mary Beth Romig of the Conventions Bureau told CPN, “Because when Katrina hit, the city really came to a complete shut-down.” But 2004 had been a record year for New Orleans with 10 million visitors, and 2005 was looking very similar, of course, until Katrina. In 2006, the city saw 3.8 million visitors, but some were relief-effort related.” New Orleans added another 277 hotel rooms for a total of 31,888 last year. Leisure tourism stats for 2007 reveal that New Orleans is up 90 percent, since 2006, and although that’s only 70 percent of what they were pre-Katrina, “we’re very optimistic,” Lea Sinclair of the New Orleans Tourism Corp. told CPN.Added Romig, “We are gaining strength with every passing year. Obviously our numbers were down for 2006, with the first city wide convention not until June of that year. But smaller meetings started that spring. And now we’re gaining confidence with each passing event. There’s still a lot of misperceptions about the city’s readiness.” Since the new year, “The City that Care Forgot” has hosted The Sugar Bowl, BSC National Championship, the NBA All Star Game, another successful Mardi-Gras, a number of important city-wide conventions and just this week, the North American Leaders summit, with President Bush, Prime Minister of Canada, the President of Mexico and their delegations.