Wal-Mart Buys Back Mammoth Facility; Avia Joins Hyatt Family

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Wal-Mart Corp. recently acquired the distribution complex it manages in Baytown for a reported $104.5 million. The seller was the State of Texas School Fund, which bought the pair of buildings from the retail giant back [...]

Wal-Mart Corp. recently acquired the distribution complex it manages in Baytown for a reported $104.5 million. The seller was the State of Texas School Fund, which bought the pair of buildings from the retail giant back in 2005 through the state’s General Land Office; at the time of the purchase, the State of Texas School Fund leased the 240-acre project back to Wal-Mart for a 30-year period, in a deal that gave the retailer the option to repurchase the property.

The 4 million square feet of space are part of the Cedar Crossing Industrial Park, positioned to access all major roadways, including Interstate 10 and State Highways 225 and 146. More than 500 trucking lines serve Houston. Cedar Crossing is just 10 minutes’ driving time from the Interstate 10 corridor and the eastern end of State Highway 225. Both corridors contain major truck terminal facilities.

The Avia boutique hotel in The Woodlands has also changed hands this week, and will soon be rebranded by its new owner, a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotels Corp. The 70-room Avia hotel, anchoring the upscale shopping and dining destination Market Street The Woodlands, features an infinity pool, a spa tub, plush seating and a communal fire pit.

The acquisition was part of a portfolio of assets sold by LodgeWorks L.P.–a private hotel development, ownership and management company–and its private equity partners. The portfolio included 24 hotels and related assets, which traded for $802 million. The acquisition allows the buyer to introduce Hyatt-branded hotels in nine new markets and to establish its extended-stay presence in 16 markets. Woodlands’ Avia and the other three Avia Hotels that were part of the transaction will be converted to full service under the Hyatt brand.