BIRMINGHAM, Ala., January 19, 2012—RockBridge announced a preferred equity investment to recapitalize and reposition the 329-room, full-service Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. (the “Wynfrey” or the “Hotel”). The Hotel will undergo a comprehensive multi-million dollar renovation, after which it will be reflagged as The Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel. The developer of the hotel and the adjoining Riverchase Galleria and Galleria Tower, Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC, retains an ownership interest in the project. Davidson Hotels & Resorts has managed the landmark property since 2009 and facilitated the transaction and branding on behalf of ownership. James T. Merkel, president and CEO of RockBridge, made the announcement.
The renovation will commence in the fall of 2012 and be completed by March 2013. The Hotel will receive substantial upgrades including an enhanced exterior facade, renovation of all public areas, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and meeting space. The guest rooms will be fully refurbished with upgraded bedding and a comprehensive soft and case goods package.
“We fully expect the strength of the Hyatt brand and the multi-million dollar renovation to cement this property’s leadership position as one of the region’s top destinations for area business and leisure travelers,” said Patrick Lupsha, Davidson’s chief operating officer. “We plan to aggressively market the new Hyatt Regency as Birmingham’s leading upper upscale property.”
The Hotel is conveniently located immediately off of I-459 and Highway 31 and is attached to the Riverchase Galleria, the largest enclosed mall in Alabama, with more than 1.5 million square feet of retail space. The Chancellor’s Club level lodging, accessible only with a private key, offers two floors of deluxe accommodations with exclusive in-room amenities, complimentary continental breakfast and evening reception. Additional hotel amenities include high-speed Internet access, fitness center, business center, 32,000 square feet of meeting space, and multiple dining options, including Shula’s Steak House.
“Consistent with our proven investment strategy, this preferred equity investment represents an opportunity to reposition, renovate, and rebrand a quality asset at an attractive basis with considerable upside potential,” said Mr. Merkel.
RockBridge is an integrated hotel investment firm that has executed on over 300 debt and equity hotel investments in the U.S. over the past two decades. Since 1992, RockBridge’s team has invested nearly $3 billion in the hospitality industry as part of approximately $5 billion of total transaction capitalization. The principals of RockBridge have formed and managed nine hospitality-focused investment funds across multiple platforms with predominantly institutional investors. For additional information about RockBridge, visit www.rockbridgecapital.com.
Davidson Hotels & Resorts
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Davidson Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, full-service hotel management company that provides management, development/renovation, acquisition, consulting and accounting expertise for the hospitality industry. The company’s portfolio encompasses 47 upscale, full-service independent and branded hotels with nearly 13,400 rooms across the United States, including such affiliations as Hyatt, Westin, Sheraton, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Doubletree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, and Radisson. For additional information about Davidson, visit www.davidsonhotels.com.
Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC
Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC (JWA), based in Montgomery, Ala., is a privately owned real estate company specializing in shopping centers, residential real estate investments, offices, condominiums, hotels and mixed-use developments. With over three decades of real estate experience, JWA has developed in excess of 21 million square feet of shopping center space. JWA developed the Riverchase Galleria, including The Wynfrey Hotel and Galleria Tower, that initially opened in 1986, and continues its involvement in all aspects of this marquee project. The company's development portfolio includes residential communities and condominium residences, mixed-use developments, Class A office buildings and hotel and country club assets. For additional information about JWA, visit www.jwamalls.com.