Room2 Hometels has Prelet 175 Unit Aparthotel in Belfast City Centre

Main Photo: The new Room2 Belfast – imagined

Date: May 2020

Location: Belfast city-centre, Northern Ireland, UK

Name: Room2 Belfast – opening Autumn 2021

No. of Keys: 175

Seller: Oakland have owned the site/property for some while.

Buyer: Last November (2019) Hometel were looking at two sites in Belfast for their fourth UK site. Having selected a site, developer Oakland Holdings expects to complete the new build in autumn 2021. The nine storey block has already received planning consent. Room2 has further pipeline sites in Manchester, London and Liverpool.

It is understood that Room2, which currently has two operational locations – the Southampton Hometel and Hammersmith Townhouse – was in talks with two potential sites in the city.

The brainchild of brothers Robert and Stuart Godwin, former members of the British Olympic Development Sailing team, the firm said hometels combine the best elements from Airbnb, serviced apartments and boutique hotels in an offering designed to appeal equally to corporate and leisure guests and those seeking alternative forms of residential accommodation.

Room2’s hometels include 24-hour stays as standard with residences available from one night to one year and beyond while the company also includes kitchens in every room, the ability to select your own type of mattress and keyless check-in.

Simon Calder, travel writer for the Independent, described Room2 as “evolutionary, not revolutionary”.

“I welcome all innovation and increased competition in accommodation,” he said. “I would certainly consider the brand for a stay in Belfast, but happily recent years have brought plenty of bright, fresh rooms to the city – so I am spoiled for choice.”

The company has a further pipeline of live projects across the UK with a gross development value of more than £100m. This includes sites in Chiswick and Manchester, featuring a mix of wholly owned assets and those pre-leased to Room2 by development partners.

Room2 has also appointed Mark Harris, the former head of UK and Ireland and managing director at the Carlyle Group, as strategic investment partner.

It said his primary role will be to help raise finance from institutions, family offices and high net worth individuals to enable up to £250m of investment into Room2’s pipeline of hometel developments across the UK, as it targets 5,000 operational or committed rooms by 2030.

He will also advise on the growth of the Room2 platform and the development and delivery of new schemes.

“In a crowded marketplace dominated by big brands and ubiquitous design, and one in which the customer is becoming increasingly discerning, I believe it is crucial for a brand to be able to stand out and deliver sustainable advantage through a unique offering,” said Mr Harris.

“Hometels is a nascent yet hugely under-supplied market, and I firmly believe the wide-ranging appeal and flexibility of Room2’s product provides a compelling investment opportunity.”

The terms of the agreement include a 25-year lease with a tenant option to break at year 20. Guy Hollis of Oakland Holdings added: “We are delighted to have secured room2 hometels as our tenant. The Lamington Group were a perfect fit for the development as we were able to accommodate their high-end, design led specifications and provide them with the necessary flexibility while at the same time securing a strong and institutionally accepted covenant at a market rent.”

Property agent CBRE Hotels and A&L Goodbody acted for Oakland Holdings in the transaction.

THPT Comment: The boys have done well….having conceived the idea, they successfully raised the money and now have a heavyweight on board to take them to the next stage…well done!

First Seen: Belfast Telegraph

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