Gencom-led Partnership Acquires Two St. Pete Beach, Florida Resorts for US$100 Million

Main Photo: The Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel

Date: January 2019

Location: St. Pete Beach, a resort island off St. Petersburg, Tampa, Florida, USA

Name: The Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel and The Grand Plaza Beach Hotel & Beach Resort

No. of Keys: 102 and 56

Seller: Excel Hospitality Inc. The Grand Plaza opened in 1975. The deal was handled by Daniel Peek, the head of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler’s (HFF) hotel group.

Excel Hospitality has also recently sold two other major properties in the St. Pete area, including The Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club and the Postcard Inn.

Buyer: As part of its ongoing strategy to acquire unique hospitality assets anchored by strong underlying real estate and with unique re-positioning opportunity, a Gencom-led partnership has announced the acquisition of two resort assets situated along St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Beside their US activity, Gencom  are investors in UK’s etc venues with 15 stand-alone training venues, hosting 800,000 delegates. Also present in Costa Rica, Bermuda, with 13 hotels under brands such as Hyatt, Four Seasons, Rosewood, Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton, Autograph and Residence Inn brands.

The hotels were acquired at a reported purchase price of $100 million. The partnership will commit an additional $24 million for major renovations to upgrade and re-brand the two properties.

While both assets will initially remain independent and unbranded, a global hospitality company, Benchmark, has been retained to manage and re-position the two properties.

Gencom and Benchmark forged a strategic management partnership in 2016, including an ownership investment from Gencom.

Benchmark in their own right have 53 properties they manage and another 14 they asset-manage.

“The purchase of the two St. Pete Beach properties represents a continuation of our firm’s strategy to seek out profitable hospitality investments in locations with strong market fundamentals and opportunities to create value through active management and repositioning,” said Alessandro Colantonio, Gencom’s executive vice president Acquisitions & Capital Markets.

“Benchmark’s experience in every aspect of hotel management and marketing and its pioneering role in the development of experiential travel, will enable us to maximise these assets though a far-sighted renovation program and productive re-organisation.”

Gencom’s Miami-based acquisition and capital markets group led the sourcing, underwriting and closing of the acquisition which included securing equity co-investment and placement of acquisition financing.

Post-closing, Gencom’s asset management team will work closely with Benchmark to oversee the planned renovation and re-positioning initiatives.

“Gencom is excited to add these properties to its portfolio and to expand our strategy with Benchmark,” said Karim Alibhai, Gencom’s founder and principal, in 1987.

“We continue to be bullish in hospitality, for the right opportunities, and we were driven by the positive market trends and underlying real estate characteristics of these assets.”

The high-rise Grand Plaza Beach Hotel & Beach Resort offers four food and beverage outlets, while the Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel consists of two restaurants, including the award-winning Jimmy B’s Beach Bar and Grill.

The Grand Plaza, St Pete Beach

Price: US$100m

Price per Key: US$632,911

THPT Comment: A great buy for Gencom, albeit not cheap, especially if they plan to spend $24m on a refurb. Fab growth by Karim Alibhai and his team.

First Seen: Tampa Bay Business Journal

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