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Accor sells its stake in Reef Casino in Australia for AU$85m
As part of its asset management strategy, Accor announced the sale of its participation in the Reef casino in Australia. This participation includes a 29% stake in Reef Casino Trust, a listed entity, as well as its 50% stake in the related businesses of RCT, i.e. Casinos Austria Cairns, and Reef Corporate Service. Total proceeds for Accor will amount to AU$85m (c. €55.5m).
Reef Casino is a complex located in Cairns (Northern Queensland, Australia), that includes a 128 room Hotel, and a Casino with over 500 gaming machines.
The buyer is Aquis, a Hong-Kong based Investment Company. The agreement is subject to 90% acceptance for the IPO of RCT and to regulatory approvals.
Hersha Hospitality Trust to sell Hotel 373 in Manhattan for $529,000 per room
Hersha Hospitality Trust, owner of 50 upscale hotels in urban gateway markets, announced that the Company has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Hotel 373 located in midtown Manhattan. The 70 room hotel is being sold to an offshore investment group for $37.0 million, or approximately $529,000 per key.
"The pricing on the sale of Hotel 373 is indicative of Manhattan's highly sought after real estate market, and underscores the quality and value of Hersha's New York City hotel portfolio. We believe the sale of Hotel 373 will narrow the gap between the private and public market value of the Company's real estate", stated Mr. Jay H. Shah, the Company's Chief Executive Officer. "The transaction is a strong indication of continuing domestic and international interest from public and private groups seeking to acquire cash flowing real estate in top U.S. gateway markets. We remain optimistic regarding the long-term prospects of the New York City hotel market, but we will continue to search for opportunities to divest high-yielding, stabilized assets and to redeploy the proceeds into higher growth opportunities or to pursue stock buyback opportunities at periods when the stock price does not appropriately reflect value."
The sale price values the hotel at $1,680 per square foot, and on 2013 operating results represents an economic capitalization rate of 5.2% and a hotel EBITDA multiple of 17.3x. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2014, and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the completion of the buyer's due diligence. No assurance can be given that this hotel will be sold within the expected time frame or at all. In addition, all stock buy-backs, if any, will be made pursuant to the previously announced program that was recently extended by the Board through the end of 2014.
tripBAM sees record site traffic and hotel searches in January
tripBAM, a new online hotel shopping service, started 2014 with an unprecedented month of growth. Site traffic grew by more than 300 percent in January, with the number of actual hotel "cluster" searches tripling over prior monthly figures. tripBAM uses patent-pending "cluster" shopping processes to find savings on more than 60 percent of hotel groups searched, with average savings of more than $50 per night.
Four of the top ten corporate travel management companies in North America kicked off pilot programs with tripBAM in January. Three multi-national firms among the 30 highest-travel-spending U.S.-based corporations - cumulatively representing more than $500 million annually in domestic airline bookings - also launched pilots with tripBAM last month.
Lodging prices are going up, driving corporations and small businesses to show increased interest in tripBAM. TravelClick reported that the average daily rate for bookings via the Global Distribution System - where the majority of business travel reservations are made - are tracking just shy of five percent higher year-over-year. One of the world's leading hotel operators recently reported that rates are increasing across all of its brands in 2014.
"Even with the surge in hotel searches we saw in January, the hotel deals still came through," said Steve Reynolds, president of tripBAM. "The average amount of savings, spread across the entire length of stay among January hotel searches, was more than $120." The average length of stay for the majority of tripBAM searches is two nights.
"The per-night hotel savings tripBAM delivers is like catnip to my corporate client base," said John Smith, president of Chicago-based Tower Travel Management. Smith's company, which serves both domestic and international programs, is launching a tripBAM pilot this quarter. "And beyond the savings, we're confident that tripBAM's results will drive more streamlined hotel programs for our clients, with fewer RFPs in secondary markets and a more manageable number of preferred hotels."
Hollywood's iconic Christie Hotel renovated
Renovations are complete at the historic Christie Hotel, Hollywood California's first five-star hotel. This eight-story Georgian Revival building, designed by noted architect Arthur R. Kelly opened in 1922, featured steeply pitched gable roofs, spectacular vistas of Hollywood, steam heat and private bath in every guestroom. Its Greenwich Village Cafe was a popular gathering spot for filmmakers and actors, and it was home to big screen movie stars and industry magnates.
The historic building is situated in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard and its renovation is an important component in preserving classic Hollywood. The roaring 20's was certainly so in Hollywood and that era's beautiful buildings are a testament to American ingenuity and creativity, and remain the enduring embodiment of the spirit of Hollywood's moguls.
General contractor Nova HRC carefully demolished and rebuilt the property from its shell. The exterior facade was restored in fine detail to its original grandeur and Nova HRC also reused valuable period components such as the balustrade of the grand stairs. The decor is again period-appropriate, but its core is brand new right down to modern seismic retrofitting, additional space created, elevators added, and all new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, roofing, doors, windows, and fire protection.
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